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Spain adopt Cholo's 'one game at a time' mantra for World Cup

AS AS 04/06/2014 Joaquín Maroto, Javier G. Matallanas

Spain made the most of the eight-hour flight to Washington to form a World Cup battle plan. The players of La Roja have vowed not to let up for one minute in Brazil, and will do all they can to retain the trophy they won in South Africa four years ago. And with that in mind, they are set to put into practice the 'Diego Simeone method': there is to be no talk of any other opponent than Holland. The Atlético Madrid coach's 'one game at a time' mantra has taken hold in La Roja.

National team director María José Claramunt and Spain captain Iker Casillas travelled side by side on flight IB 2828 to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, during which they firmed up the plan not to look beyond 13 June – the day of the team’s World Cup opener against the Dutch in Salvador de Bahía. Word of the plan was passed through the travelling party and has taken hold. Everyone is in agreement.

On Tuesday, the players trained for the first time since their arrival in the USA, in conditions of heat and humidity. Diego Costa is among the squad’s most enthusiastic individuals, despite a team of journalists from Brazilian newspaper O Globo attempting to catch him off guard. “If Brazil play Spain, you want Brazil to win, don’t you?” they asked him on his arrival in America. Sergio Ramos intervened, and with a single look Costa knew what he had to do: smile and carry on walking, without answering.

Spain’s first day in the US saw a calm atmosphere marked by tiredness caused by the time difference, and plenty of high spirits. Coach Vicente Del Bosque is calm and is in favour of the ‘one game at a time’ formula for success. The first match comes in Saturday’s friendly against El Salvador, the world and European champions’ final rehearsal.

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