Tensions in 2014 Spain World Cup side revealed: Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas involved

Spain are into their first final of a major tournament since they last won a trophy at Euro 2012, beating France to make the final 12 years on. La Roja have been the best side to watch in the competition, and one of the factors most often highlighted in their success has been the atmosphere around the squad.

The joy between Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal is the most obvious, but on the whole, there has been plenty of evidence of the jovial nature of the squad. They will go into the final against England or the Netherlands as hot favourites, and experienced Spain correspondent Graham Hunter has compared the atmosphere to that of the 2008 Spain squad in an interview with Relevo.

“I notice many differences and similarities. I was with Spain in the 2006 World Cup when we faced France in the round of 16. We had a prepared squad, with talent and a good coach, but we faced an intelligent and very accomplished France. But what this Euros reminds me of most is 2008, and not just because they’ve reached the final now, I’ve been saying it for a long time. I see the atmosphere and the profile of the players as very similar. I see that freshness, attitude, youth… There are no divisions. There is a style that is based on talents, with a good philosophy from the coach. Everything fits together like a puzzle and we can make the last click.”

Hunter also explained that Xavi Hernandez and Luis de la Fuente should be given plenty of credit for their handling of Lamine Yamal at such a young age, as well as Luis Enrique, who he believes put the foundations in place for this side.

While he noted that a perfect atmosphere around the squad is not a requisite for success, as was in evidence in 2010 and 2012, it can be an issue. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, that was evidenced by tension between Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina, or Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas.

“I was there during the very bad times. I experienced the stuff of legends. I’ll start in 2014. I remember a training session in which Iker Casillas, whom I love and admire, had to control the ball with one foot and move it to both sides with the other. His lack of precision was… A player who had experienced the Champions League in Lisbon with [Sergio] Ramos’ miraculous goal, who arrived in Brazil against a perfect Pepe Reina. But Del Bosque did not change.”

“Or the sparks between Xabi Alonso and Cesc [Fabregas], which made the coach send the Catalan to the locker room. There was bad vibes, tension…”

The conflict between Real Madrid and Barcelona players around that time are well-documented, with Casillas and Xavi ending up smoothing over issues in order to allow La Roja success in South Africa and then Poland and Ukraine. However less is known about their troubles in 2014 and 2016, when Spain performed poorly. Their showing at the 2018 World Cup was not much better, but most put that down to the sacking of Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament in Russia.

Tags Cesc Fabregas Pepe Reina Spain La Roja World Cup Xabi Alonso

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

La Liga - Club News