Getting ready for Spain
Mark Noble talks about the Finland game and how the team prepared for Spain.
Monday night’s game was about the result. It was so important that we beat Finland and as a team we worked really hard to do it. For me it was a very special night, captaining my country in a European Championship game was such an honour.
I picked up the man of the match trophy and it was a tough game, but the whole team worked very hard. Getting the goal early was important for us as Finland came out strong, and they had a lot of support chanting and singing.
When Michael was sent off, it lifted them a lot and the goal gave something for their fans to cheers and they seemed to believe that it was their game to win. But this team doesn’t bow down. The mental strength we have, the team spirit and the desire we have is a match for anyone, and although we didn’t play to our best, in the second half we started to keep the ball much better and Micah’s goal, and what a header it was, was enough for us.
Maybe we could have gone on to get another, but with ten-men we worked so hard and in the closing moments had to defend a lot as they were looking for the equaliser.
Spain will be a much different prospect and we know that, but we believe we are good enough as a squad to beat anyone.
We’ve been preparing well, and our training has once again been spot on. But it’s a different situation than when we built up to our first game as we had a day of recovery. The day after the Finland game was a bit more relaxing, especially for the boys who played.
We were in the pool first thing on Tuesday, while the rest of the squad had a session at the training ground. For pool sessions our fitness coach Boydy takes us off in groups of three, and I was with Gabby and Fraizer.
In the afternoon the gaffer gave us permission to have an afternoon out and about the hotel. We didn’t go too far, a lot of the lads got on the hotel hire bikes. A few went into the town and had a game of mini golf, but I went around the cove with Tonka Tomkins, Fraizer, Gibbsy and Gabby. We must have looked funny on these bikes, five young lads going around with shopping baskets on the front.
We also had a sit on the beach right outside the hotel doors and it was really relaxing. I borrowed TheFA.com’s camera and took a few snaps too. (check out the gallery at the top)
It’s little things like that that break up the time between games. We work really hard in training but with three days between the games, we need to do things to keep us entertained. Some of the lads like watching DVDs, we’ve got pool, darts, table tennis and a Nintendo Wii in the recreation room, or we sit and have a chat with the staff in their office.
If you want to play at the highest level for your club and for your country, these are tournments you always want to experience, so must learn to deal with the up and down time.
Tonight we are back in action and head to Gothenburg at around six. We know that a win will put us into the semi-final, but it won’t be easy. You can be guaranteed, though, that the boys and me will give it 100%.