Blogs & Opinion


Martin Tyler meets Julen Lopetegui before U21 Championship final

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 16th June 2013 view comments

They love retro music in Israel.

Sir Cliff Richard will be out here soon, closely followed by Barbra Streisand. Our hotel has been piping out the hits of the fifties and sixties to the delight of your correspondent who remembers more of the words than any other, admittedly more youthful, members of the Sky Sports team.

Julen Lopetegui: offered Martin a few insights into the secrets of Spain's success

Julen Lopetegui: offered Martin a few insights into the secrets of Spain's success

You could even re-christen the sides which reached the last four of the Uefa Under 21 Finals with a nod towards pop music history. They have been the Beach Boys.

Cor Pot, the Dutch Head Coach, felt the need to tell the world that he and his players were not here for a holiday. Yet the great coastline and Mediterranean waters were a great source of relaxation for his squad. Norway, where the winters are long and hard, also lapped up the sunshine and the surf with little detriment to their performances.

Embraced

Julen Lopetegui, the manager, joked that as an ex-goalkeeper he was probably too crazy for the job. Too cheery would be a better description.

Martin Tyler
Quotes of the week

Spain allowed Patrick Davidson and myself into their seaside hotel in Herzliya and showed a perfect blend of professionalism and use of downtime. The mood came from the top. Julen Lopetegui, the manager, joked that as an ex-goalkeeper he was probably too crazy for the job. Too cheery would be a better description.

He generously and sociably gave us time to explain how his country have been so successful. He pointed out that Del Bosque who has taken the senior squad to the Confederations Cup in Brazil wanted De Gea, Isco and Thiago to be with the Under 21s because they would get more game time.

England take note.

His players fully embraced the experience of the media coming inside their camp. Rodrigo, the Brazilian-born Benfica striker, reminisced about his time on loan at Bolton. David de Gea easily chatted about the possibility of a television interview in English.

In Thiago, Patrick got the full package for his pre semi-final interview.-a beautiful location, a top player, fluent in English and a charming young man. The Barcelona midfielder was also shrewd enough to avoid being pictured holding a fan's Manchester United shirt.

Rousing

The judgement on any way of preparing is usually made after the event depending on the result. Spain's laid back approach paid off though they only shrugged aside a gutsy Norway with late goals in both halves.

The Netherlands lost to a well-organized Italy which raised questions of whether they had spent too much time in the sun. Closer examination will tell you that an injury to a key defender and his replacement being caught cold cost them their chance of a place in the Final.

Liverpool's Fabio Borini made the most of his opportunity, much to Patrick's delight because the hero to be interviewed happened to be the only known English speaker in the Italian squad.

So we have a Spain - Italy Under 21 Final a year on from the same two countries contesting the climax of 2012.

It is a shame that Sir Cliff wasn't booked as part of Tuesday's closing ceremony.

I can't think of anything more musically appropriate for the nostalgic Israeli audience and the nature of this competition - which boasts with justification that it showcases the stars of today and the superstars of tomorrow - than a rousing rendition of The Young Ones!!

Post to your View!

Be the first to post a comment on this story

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

City miss chance at Chelsea

Chelsea remain five points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 1-1 draw with second-placed Manchester City.

Man Utd cruise past Leicester

Manchester United climbed back into third place in the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford.

Henry: 'Cuadrado's a proper winger'

Chelsea's strikers will love playing with Juan Cuadrado if he does join, says Thierry Henry.

Sturridge scores on return

Daniel Sturridge scored on his return as Liverpool registered a 2-0 win over West Ham to leapfrog their opponents in the table.

Premier League round-up

Daniel Sturridge scored on his return as Liverpool beat West Ham, while Man Utd get revenge on Leicester and Chelsea are held by Man City

Features

Manchester City left to rue a wasted opportunity after dominating Chelsea clash...

Manchester City left to rue a wasted opportunity after dominating Chelsea clash...

Manchester City dominated Saturday's title clash at Stamford Bridge but were left to rue a wasted opportunity to close the gap, writes Matthew Stanger...

Arsenal v Aston Villa: Alexis Sanchez's absence would give Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott vital game time

Arsenal v Aston Villa: Alexis Sanchez's absence would give Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott vital game time

Alexis Sanchez's hamstring injury gives Arsene Wenger the opportunity to give invaluable minutes to Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott against Aston Villa...

Five conclusions from Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge

Five conclusions from Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge

Matthew Stanger draws five conclusions from Chelsea's draw with Manchester City, which leaves the Blues with a five-point lead at the top...