Road to Soccer City - Spain's final preparations
The play stations, the playing cards, the books and clothes were all packed up ready for Spain's last trip of this World Cup - the one that takes them to the final.sports Updated: Jul 10, 2010 15:04 IST
The play stations, the playing cards, the books and clothes were all packed up ready for Spain's last trip of this World Cup - the one that takes them to the final.
Vincente del Bosque's squad left the quiet town of Potchefstroom on Saturday and headed for Johannesburg where they meet the Netherlands in the last, and most important, match of the 2010 World Cup.
They arrived almost exactly a month ago on June 11 and Friday a small delegation gave the team a send-off at the town hall ahead of their morning flight on Saturday.
The town of 125,000 inhabitants was also swamped with journalists as La Roja met the press just 48 hours ahead of their most important match.
The players swapped the modest surroundings of North East University for the luxury of the Hotel DaVinci in the exclusive Sandton neighbourhood of Johannesburg.
And after lunch and a siesta they a light training session was scheduled for 8.15 pm at Soccer City.
"There is great expectation here and in Spain," said defender Carlos Marchena. "It is something that we have not experienced before. We want to enjoy it to the full."
On the day of the game the players will breakfast at 10 am and take a chance to stroll around the grounds of the hotel.
Lunch will be followed by rest and then it would usually be time for Iker Casillas or Pepe Reina to initiate a card game but that might be more difficult this time with the players focussed on the biggest game of their lives.
Four hours before kick-off coach Del Bosque will give his team-talk and reveal the 11 starters to his squad of 23. Not until that moment will players such as Fernando Torres or Pedro know if they are in or out of the final.
And then it's off to Soccer City where English referee Howard Webb will want both sides at the ground at least an hour and a half before he blows the whistle on the start of the 2010 World Cup Final.