On May 24, 2010 the Spanish selection, the champion of Europe, concentrated on the Soccer City of Las Rozas with the hope of winning his first World Cup. Big words. With the feeling that it was now or never, the national team began a journey that did not start in the best way, but ended with the rise of a legendary team to Olympus in world football.

Until Thursday, June 10, Spain prepared the big event. The championship of our lives. The one of many generations of Spaniards who after suffering great disappointments would finally see their dream come true. From Cardeñosa’s decision to Al Ghandour’s refereeing in Korea, passing as the worst host in the history of the World Cups in ’82, the penalties against Belgium in ’86, the blow to Yugoslavia in ’90, Tassotti’s elbow to Luis Enrique in ’94 or Zubizarreta’s song against Nigeria in ’98. Too many disappointments that were rewarded in Johannesburg on July 11, 2010.

Spain landed on South African soil the day before the championship started and from the first moment he concentrated on Potchefstroom. His headquarters until the end of the tournament. There he saw how South Africa surprised Mexico and France crashed with Uruguay. Also as Argentina sweated to win Nigeria, as England did not go beyond the draw against the United States, as Germany and the Netherlands took their games forward, to the rocky Paraguay draw against Italy, to Portugal suffer against an Ivory Coast that he could only match to zero and as Brazil was not convincing, but it did beat North Korea. It is what has to be in the last group to debut. That formed with our Switzerland, our first rival, Chile and Honduras.

Batacazo against Switzerland

After signing a perfect qualifying round and standing out in the previous friendlies, no one could imagine what was going to happen against Switzerland. A game where luck was elusive that ended in defeat and a slap in the face. The favorite kneeled at the first change, at the same time that an entire country wondered if this would be the Spain of all time. That of yes, but no. After falling to the Swiss team came a key duel against Honduras that was won 2-0 without brightness. And then the day that team was most afraid. The match against Chile. Winning or leaving for home with the feeling of ridicule. And he suffered, but he won to reach the eighths.

Spain started the 2010 World Cup losing to Switzerland. (.)

In the heads or tails the first rival was Portugal. Cristiano and his friends made it difficult, but Llorente and a goal from Villa in the end gave the victory those of Del Bosque. In the always feared rooms, where dreams turned into nightmares, Paraguay appeared. On paper we were better, but in practice everything was much more complicated. In the first half, we were saved by Guatemalan referee Carlos Batres, canceling a legal goal by striker Nelson Valdez offside in the 40th minute. In the second act, Casillas dressed as a saint to stop Cardozo from being penalized. And in the final minutes, penalty missed by Xabi Alonso included, Villa, again the Guaje, he made a goal full of suspense since the ball hit both sticks to get the ticket to the semifinals. The first in our history.

Casillas stops a key penalty to Cardozo in a duel against Paraguay. (.)

In the sixth game of the World Cup, the rival would be nothing more and nothing less than a Germany that had scored four goals against Argentina and England, but it was that night on the lawn of Moses Mabhida in Durban where Spain got their best football and, of course, also his claw, the one that was seen in the Puyol header that was worth the victory, to be in the grand final, where he saw the faces with Holland.

Puyo celebrates the winning goal in the semifinals against Germany. (.)

The Dutch team faced the third final in its history, the other two had been lost. Both times she went down in history for having been defeated despite her great football, this time she decided that she would leave her exquisite game aside to generate a tremendously physical final that drove the Spaniards crazy. Kicks and punches were the keynote in a final that could be lost, Casillas’ boot avoided him, and he ended up winning thanks to a goal from Iniesta in 116 ‘which is already history of Spanish football. The goal of our lives.

Iniesta hits the ball that gave Spain the first World Cup in its history. (.)

Successes followed

And then came a huge party that had Madrid as its epicenter, but which invaded all the streets of the national territory. And later, the 2012 Euro Cup began to be prepared, the one that did not start well either – drawing against Italy – but ended in the best way Overcoming the transalpine team in a memorable final that allows Spain to be the only team in the world that has won three international tournaments consecutively. Eurocup, World Cup and Eurocup.

Spain raises the 2012 Euro Cup in Kiev. (.)

And then Brazil also arrived and not knowing how to regenerate the team. It was not easy to say goodbye to the best generation of footballers we have ever had. In the land of samba we were danced by Holland, Chile and if we neglect to Australia. The champion hit rock bottom. Two years later he tried to raise his head in France, but nothing would be the same. The group was not the same, nor was the quality, and Italy sent us back home in the second round. And finally, the World Cup in Russia. The one we went to with Lopetegui as coach and we ended up with Hierro. For these things we are also unique. And since what starts badly ends badly, the hostess dispatched us in eighths.

Robben scores one of the five goals that the Netherlands scored against Spain in Brazil. (.)

And the future it has some unknown and many green shoots. We will not be the Spain that fascinated everyone between 2008 and 2012, nor should we pretend. The Federation looks for another great generation with Luis Enrique as leader. The 2020 Euro Cup to be held in 2021 due to the coronavirus will be a new test to meet again with its winning gene that from Austria we know that we have and that he has several championships asleep. The present is good and the future can be better.

Rubiales, Sergio Ramos and Luis Enrique. (.)