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Spain - Graham Hunter,
This review is from: Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja's Historic Treble (Hardcover)
Pique is quoted on the front cover saying "Hunter was with us every step of the way" and on this evidence, it is no exaggeration.
Graham Hunter has the most incredible personal access to all the major players, coaches and directors of the Spanish team.
Embedded inside the Spanish team base, he has chronicled on the most intimate level the challenges involved in transforming football's great serial underachievers into the winners of the last three major championships.
The abrasive Aragones era beginning with his decision to change from the Roja's traditional style to the rapid circulation of possession created a storm of controversy which almost cost him his job. It meant no place for iconic captain Raul and for two years he endured a vilification reminiscent of England's Graham Taylor; the Thierry Henry racist slur controversy and finally leaving for the 2008 European championships with the country's jeers ringing in their ears; then the miraculous return as European Champions.
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa with gentle Del Bosque now in charge enduring persistent undermining of him by Aragones; the managing of the dire situation of Iniesta's fitness and losing the first game to Switzerland; how Del Bosque transformed them such that after their semi-final performance against the Germans their manager Joachim Low describes them as "the greatest team I have ever seen".
Then the final and, in spite of the thugs of Holland turning the final into a battleground, the team emerge triumphant with the barely fit Iniesta scoring the winner. Spain the great under achievers have learned how to win in any situation.
There are lots of anecdotes like Placido Domingo singing to the team in the dressing room and the Queen of Spain heading unchaperoned for the showers to congratulate the team; Euro 2012, the defence of the title, and the threat of Spain's fantastic team spirit being compromised irreparably by Jose Mourinho deliberately causing conflict between his Madrid players and those of Barcelona; Accusations of "boring brilliance" and finally a triumphant 4-0 hammering of Italy in the final.
What a story.