We already have Spain qualified for Euro 2024 and it seems trivial to us, as if the qualifying phases were a mere procedure, a way to fill the coffers of the federations and for the television networks to share the pie of the rights among those of the national leagues, the European competitions and the latter for national teams. When Johan Cruyff arrived as coach at Barça in 1988, he asked José Luis Núñez and his right-hand man Joan Gaspart to eliminate the bonus system for titles that had cost God and help to implement and to return to the old system of bonuses for games won. And the brilliant Cruyff, when those unmotivating matches arrived in the middle of big Champions League matches, then the European Cup, used to end his brief talk with: “Well guys, these matches are only there so that the club can pay us the bonus.” .
I feel that something of that is happening to us lately, not the bonus thing, but taking for granted that you are going to win the game or that the classification is going to be achieved. Maybe it’s because Spain is the only team with Germany that has been in all the last major football events and that always creates that confidence that, even if something goes wrong in Glasgow, at most the coach will suffer, but we will be in the Euro Cup. . Perhaps it is because the groups of national teams are increasingly larger and the qualifying phase is seen as a mere procedure, leaving behind those times in which only eight teams played in the final phase of the highest European national team competition and when you got there everything was complicated. If you arrived, of course, we were left out in 1992, eliminated by a France that smelled like champions and had to come back in the first phase.
There is also something of that in this first Copa del Rey draw that took place during the week and that was celebrated in some clubs as if they had won the Christmas jackpot. They are these midweek matches, those traps in which every season some candidate to compete, at least, in the semifinals, has left his feathers behind when everything seemed to be nothing more than formalities. Difficult matches, but in the end won by the Primera favorites and which end with a big party for the home team whose players celebrate the unexpected victory while asking for the shirts of those who leave without wanting to stay another minute on that artificial grass and in that crazy jubilant hubbub.
What a strange feeling it is that, when you are the favorite and the only thing worth winning, you get on the bus, train or plane back, you sit down and breathe deeply remembering how hard it was for you to win one of those games and that The next day no one will remember or evaluate and they will only be waiting for the next draw, the next rival, the next step.
Therefore, and since we have to live from day to day, we will have to wish luck to everyone who starts the Cup competition and know that the option to dream is open to everyone. And let’s congratulate La Roja for their qualification for the Euro Cup in Germany knowing that there are two games left to finish as seeded in the future draw, although given the mess that exists for that matter one no longer knows if it is better to go in the second pot with as long as someone guarantees you that this way you will not end up in the group of death that always arises and into which no one wants to fall. Although as Argentina taught us in the World Cup, you can lose the first game against Arabia and end up as world champion.
Ugh, how easy it is to win as long as someone else has to do it.
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