Monday, at 1:00 AM Madrid time, the defending world champions, the Spanish National Football Team, arrived at Curitiba, Brazil, their base camp for the defense of their title during the World Cup 2014 tournament. The team, looking refreshed and sporting red ties, white shirts and the Spanish Crest on their dark team suits, descended onto the tarmac and waiting buses.
In the airport proper, fans lined the expected arrival gate and surrounding areas while Brazilian police attempted to maintain some semblance of order and control. Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported that the team did not enter the airport terminal itself, but were instead whisked away in their bus. Spanish fans at the airport, anticipating the team's arrival, had begun chanting "Spain! Spain!" only to be drowned out by the assembled Brazilian fans who responded "Brazil! Brazil!"
Folha further reported that the team, who had made a great popular splash when they last stayed in Curitiba, during the 1950 World Cup, did not even inform the local Spanish consulate of their schedule. "They could have informed their own consulate if they had wanted to, obviously they chose not to."
Meanwhile, Curitiba officials, waiting to receive the travelers joked "Even the rain has stopped to allow for their arrival."
Saturday, after a 2-0 victory over El Salvador at FedEx Field in Washington, DC, Vicente del Bosque seemed pleased with the team's last friendly prior to beginning their title defense. "My feelings are positive, we are where we want to be and are optimistic," he said at the post-game news conference. At the conferences previous to the game he had been cautious but optimistic about the way his recuperating players were progressing.
After the game, del Bosque seemed relieved that all of the physical tests that "needed confirmation" were passed with flying colors. "[Jordi] Alba simply has an issue with blisters. Juanfran played without pain and Costa showed glimpses of what he is capable of, so I am pleased."
For his part, David Villa, the Atletico Madrid star and La Liga championship winner, who has just signed with New York City FC of the MLS for next season, kept making his case for a "starting role" on the national team. "I am glad to have responded to the coach's confidence in me [starting against El Salvador] by producing goals." Pushing further, and providing a glimpse into the team's inner workings, he concluded: "We should all be seeing ourselves as starters that is what we worked for all week long."
The team plans to begin training today and aside from the one FIFA required open practice the Spaniards plan on holding closed sessions for the foreseeable future as they prepare for their opening match against Holland on Friday, the 13th of June.