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Spain Waits, Impatiently, for the Goals to Arrive

  • June 22, 2021

Elías Bendodo has the long and unwieldy job title of a man with too much on his plate. For the last three years, he has served as minister of the presidency, public administration and interior for the Spanish region of Andalusia. On the side, he acts as the local government’s spokesman, all while serving as president of the Málaga branch of the Spanish political organization Partido Popular.

He is, in other words, busy. In the last few weeks alone, Bendodo has had to organize regional elections, handle the expansion of the area’s coronavirus vaccination program and intervene in a dispute between rivals for the post of mayor in the city of Granada.

He has also spent a surprising amount of time talking about the best way to mow grass.

It started after Spain’s opening game of Euro 2020 last week against Sweden, a scoreless draw at La Cartuja, a vast, soulless and unloved stadium on the outskirts of Seville. The turf, Spain’s players and staff members said, was too short, too dry, too rough. “The field of play hurt us,” said Luis Enrique, the team’s coach.

Things had not improved by the time Spain returned to the stadium for its second game, against Poland on Saturday. “The field does not help,” said Rodri, the Manchester City midfielder. “It’s in very bad condition. It does not suit the fluidity of our game.” That match ended in a draw, too, leaving Spain needing to win its final game, against Slovakia on Wednesday, to be sure of qualification for the tournament’s knockout rounds.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/22/sports/soccer/spain-morata-slovakia-euro-2020.html

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