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08.07.2010 12:06

Record breaking Barça presence

Vanessa Forns

There can be no doubt that the Barça seal has much to do with the Spanish team’s success at this World Cup, and that was clearer than ever against Germany. No fewer than seven of the starting eleven were FCB players.

Wednesday night was a historic day for football, with Spain reaching the World Cup final for the first time ever. But neither will it have gone unnoticed that manager Vicente del Bosque used a massive seven Barça players in his starting line-up, something unprecedented in this tournament so far.

No team has had so many players from one club in a World Cup semi final for forty years. It was the third time that this has happened at this stage of the tournament. In 1934, Czechoslovakia played the semi final with seven players from Slavia Prague, and in 1970 Uruguay started with the same number from Nacional.

Two eight-man precedents

villa_NEUER.jpgOnly twice has a team ever started a World Cup game with more than seven players from the same club. That was Uruguay again in 1970, when they played one game with 8 players from Nacional of Montevideo. The other occasion was 1986, when the USSR side once played with eight players from Dynamo Kiev.

All picked apart from Valdés

Against Germany, all of the FC Barcelona players in the squad started apart from goalkeeper Víctor Valdés. Puyol, Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Pedro and Villa were all on the pitch, although it must be stated that FIFA still officially regard the latter to be a Valencia player, even though he has been confirmed as a Barça signing for the new season.

Barça style and goals

celebracio_alemanya.jpgWith such a strong Barça presence in the semi final, Vicente del Bosque was clearly content to let the team play the way so many of them learned at La Masia. But not only is the playing style reminiscent of the famous FCB philosophy, but every single one of the goals scored by Spain so far have come from Barça players. Villa has been on target five times, while Iniesta found the net once against Chile and Puyol was on target last night to send Spain into the final.

International press takes note

The Josep Guardiola influence on the national side has not gone unnoticed beyond the borders of Spain. ‘The New York Times’, for instance, noted that there was a huge number of players from what it considers the best team in La Liga, el FC Barcelona. ‘The Telegraph’ also commented on the phenomenon, while also highlighting that the goalscorer, Carles Puyol, is a Barça man.
Seven Barça players at 1994 World Cup
This was not the first time that FC Barcelona has supplied seven players to a Spanish starting line-up. It also happened 16 years ago in the United States under Javier Clemente for the quarter final against Italy, when the team featured Zubizarreta, Ferrer, Abelardo, Nadal, Sergi, Goikoetxea and Bakero. Spain lost that game 2-1, and Julio Salinas also came on as a substitute for Sergi in the 60th minute, meaning eight Barça players were used in total.

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