Spanish king assesses Spain's World Cup Chances--and Abdicates!

Seriously, I think Spain will really miss this guy. Queen Sofia will, too. - David Ramos

You didn't believe all that stuff about age and scandals being why King Juan Carlos is giving up his plum job, did you? No--it's all about Spain's World Cup chances.

Sure, the articles in the papers, and the King's TV address to the nation, may have said something different, but ldoes anyone really believe the king would be concerned about his son-in-law's graft and corruption?  Come on!  This is Spain!! Everyone's on the take!  And as for age, why is that suddenly important now?  No, I can reveal the real reason why the king is giving up his crown and disappearing from the limelight.  King Juan Carlos is a big football fan.

Remember Euro 2008, when Spain finally got past the quarterfinals?  Who showed up in the dressing room to congratulate Luis Aragonés and the squad for defeating Italy?  King Juan Carlos, that's who, with Queen Sofia.

And who can ever forget after Spain won the World Cup in 2010?  King and Queen both showed up in the dressing room, providing one of the unforgettable moments of the entire experience when Carles Puyol emerged from the shower, wearing only a towel, to meet the Queen (with a Spain scarf and dressed in team colors).  Heck, even Valencia's fallas incorporated that into the festival the next year.

It CAN'T be coincidence that the King decided to abdicate after Vicente del Bosque announced the final 23-man squad. For all I know, maybe Queen Sofia told him, "Hey, we can't get to meet that handsome guy in the towel again, so let's just go!"

While other WC managers such as Roy Hodgson and Jurgen Klinsmann have gone for a youthful look to combat the Brazilian heat and humidity, del Bosque has relied on many of the same folks who won the cup four years ago.  True, even del Bosque had to take note of Atletico Madrid's outstanding season**, so the number of La Liga teams represented on the Spanish roster increases to a massive three.  But apart from that?  You'd better play in the EPL, I guess.

** Note that 2 of the 4 players named from Atletico have significant fitness doubts, and a third--David Villa--has jumped ship and signed for a team in New York.  While #4, Koke, is going to get bought by Barcelona apparently.   Just sayin'.

A quick look at the Spain roster reveals del Bosque's first choice as goalkeeper can't even make it into the starting XI with his club team-- while of the key men in the defense, one is married to a pop star who just got canned from her judging gig on The Voice.  Puyol is gone, and with Juan Capdevila retired, there's no one to handle the all-important 'wear the wastebasket on your head during the celebration' role.  And we all know it's dangerous when Sergio Ramos celebrates.

Midfield--I love ol' Magic Eyes as much as anyone, but Xavi Hernandez? Still? With so many great young midfielders available?  And Xabi Alonso?  Love him, but he's four years older and his best days are behind him.

Attack--This is the real shock.  You know what you're likely to get with Diego Costa--ten minutes of trying to stretch his hamstring, then a quick jog to the bench.  Happened against Barca, happened against Madrid.  David Villa's last goals in La Liga were in early March, and SIX players on Chelsea's teams scored as many or more goals than Fernando Torres!

Seriously, what happens if Spain comes into its last match against Australia needing to win by 4 or 5 goals to advance?  at least

I think this is EXACTLY the sort of analysis King Juan Carlos engaged in.  Look, he announced his abdication while La Furia Roja was en route to America.  All of that tosh about "it's time for a younger person to take over"--now it makes sense--that was directed at del Bosque, and his team selection!!

I hope I'm wrong--at least for Santi Cazorla;s sake.  But....

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