It’s been a busy summer for La Roja and it’s showing no signs of letting up; Luis Enrique’s men outperformed expectations at Euro 2020, recovering from a shaky start to make it to the semi-final.
They lost in a penalty shootout to eventual winners Italy despite performing well; the most important thing, however, was that the tournament can be a springboard for future successes.
Six of Luis Enrique’s squad didn’t go on holiday following their Euro 2020 exit but joined up with Luis de la Fuente’s squad for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Unai Simon, Eric Garcia, Pau Torres, Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal and Pedri all linked up with an already talented squad, and De La Fuente has been explicit that the Spanish delegation will be targeting gold.
Barcelona prodigy Pedri ran a distance of 76.1 kilometres at Euro 2020, playing all but one of Spain’s 630 minutes – he was taken off for the penalty shootout against Italy – to win young player of the tournament and be named in team of the tournament.
It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, therefore that it emerged during the tournament that the 18-year-old was a medal-winning athlete during his days as a schoolboy in Tenerife.
“I ran long-distance, as speed was not my strong point,” he recalled in El Pais as carried by The Athletic. “I also did the hurdles, but I did not like it so much.
Pedri has now played 67 matches since the start of 2020/21:
37 – LaLiga
10 – Spain 🇪🇸
7 – Champions League
6 – Copa del Rey
4 – Spain U21
2 – Supercopa
1 – Spain Olympic warm-up 🇯🇵
— La Liga Lowdown 🧡🇪🇸⚽️ (@LaLigaLowdown) July 17, 2021
“At long distance I could win the races as I had pretty good endurance. I ran the 800 metres, the 3,000 metres and they also called me as a back-up for the 4×400 metres.”
Spain open their campaign against Egypt on July 22nd, but took on Japan in their one-and-only warm-up game today.
Japan took a 41st minute lead through Ritsu Doan, assisted by Take Kubo, but Spain got back on level terms in the 78th through Carlos Soler to ensure De La Fuente’s men avoided defeat. Pedri, unsurprisingly, played a key pass in the build-up to the equaliser.