The prospect of cloudy skies,
rain and cooler temperatures at the London Olympics is music to
the ears of Spain's Under-21 goalkeeper David de Gea.
The Manchester United No.1 is perhaps more
acclimatised to the vagaries of the British weather than many of
his team-mates, having moved to Old Trafford last year, but will
welcome the change from the soaring temperatures of central
Spain that have hit 40 degrees Centigrade during the last week.
"It is colder, but from my point of view it is better for
playing football," De Gea told Reuters after completing a
training session at their national team headquarters in Las
Rozas, on the simmering Castilian plain just outside Madrid.
"We just have to get used to it. Obviously I already am, but
people quickly adjust."
Spain's senior side have swept all before them over the last
four years stringing together victories at Euro 2008 and 2012,
either side of a first World Cup triumph, with a brand of
possession football which has been nicknamed 'tiki-taka.'
That style of play has been nurtured from the youth ranks
right through to the top and the Olympic-bound team, based
around the under-21s, who were crowned European champions last
year, are among the tournament favourites.
Spain's under-19s also scooped the continent's top prize a
week ago, a sign that the country's footballing pre-eminence
"We have a style based more on touch and control, whereas
over there [in Britain] it is more aggressive and physical, but
that's the only difference," the lanky 21-year-old said.
"Football is football wherever you are."
De Gea dismissed criticism that the patient 'Spanish style'
"Spain's style is a winning style as the senior team have
proved," he added. "It's a style that suits us because of the
characteristics of the players we have, and it's a style that
"[Spain's pre-eminence] could continue for a long time, but
there are some very good teams, people know how Spain play, and
it is getting tougher."
The Madrid-born goalkeeper, highlighted the British team
coached by former England international Stuart Pearce as one of
their main rivals for the gold medal.
"The British team is very good, I have some colleagues in
it, and I wish them all the best," he said. "A team like this
always needs to be considered a favourite, and you have to watch
out for them."
At the end of their training session in Las Rozas the
Spanish players took part in a high-spirited penalty shootout
amid whoops and cheers.
The famous chipped penalty Antonin Panenka took to win
Czechoslovakia the European Championship final in 1976, which
was successfully mimicked by Italy's Andrea Pirlo and Spain's
Sergio Ramos at Euro 2012, seemed to be particularly popular
among the players.
The 'Panenka penalty' can leave a keeper looking foolish if
he dives, and the taker with egg on his face if the keeper stays
put, and was the cause of much mirth.
"It seems people enjoy trying the Panenka," De Gea, who
saved a penalty on his Atletico Madrid La Liga debut, said.
"Of course, it's more painful to concede one this way, but
that's just the way it is."
Spain fly to Glasgow this weekend for their opening Group D
match against Japan on July 26, before playing Honduras and then
Barcelona's golden boy grabs the headlines again
It's Larsson Jr stealing the show these days
England striker puts pen to paper on permanent deal
The new season is but six weeks away (in the Football League)
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010