Spain is facing Italy and I’m going to live it (almost) as if it were Portugal. Obviously it will never reach the same level as my land, but it is that of my children and in which I have spent a large part of my life. On Friday when the penalties against Swiss I wrote to my kids: “Don’t worry, you’re going to go to the semifinals.” Fortunately I was right. Of course, with a lot of emotion. I thought that this season I had already had enough heart attacks with Atleti, but there are still strong emotions to live. Ask Unai Simon!
I have always told my children whatand there is no champion without luck. No matter how great the talent, the good game, the alignment, the strategy … it is essential that fortune smile on you. An injury can change him from one moment to another, as can a specific play, a detail, an expulsion, a failure of the rival … There are too many uncontrollable factors that escape talent, effort and the board. I hope I’m not wrong, but beyond his good game, I think La Roja is also lucky for the champion. Hopefully tonight he beat the Azzurri to reach the Wembley final.
Frankly, I think that a spark of fortune is what the Portuguese team lacked in this edition (and that it did have in 2016 when it was proclaimed champion). Excluding half an incomprehensible hour against Germany, in which we conceded two own goals (a curious record in a European Championship), the rest of the time I think we were superior to other rivals and generated many more chances. They asked me recently if I believed that Portugal lacked ambition, and I answered no, that the only thing we lacked was “Estrellainha”. Estrellita in Castilian, which in this context refers to the Spanish expression of “having flower”, luck. The damn ball didn’t want to go in against Belgium. They scored on the only occasion they had, while we had very clear opportunities, such as that of Diogo Jota at the start of the game. And if he had entered, everything would have changed. Soccer, like life, is full of “what ifs …”.
Here we are, with my beloved Spain in the semifinals against the last opponent that I would want for me, as I told you a couple of weeks ago. It is inevitable to remember those quarter-finals of 2008, the penalty of Fabregas and the illusion of my children celebrating it. Italy will be a lot of Italy, but Spain is a lot of Spain. I trust the great Luis Enrique and their cracks. I send another strong hug to Koke Y Marcos Llorente placeholder image, I hope they give my children another joy like that day.