Zagreb, European Championship, day 2.
Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.
The clouds gave way to the sun in the Croatian sky. The temperature rose, in the air and on the tournament. After a hearty breakfast, we enjoyed a team walk in the surroundings. On the program, muscular awakening, jokes, relaxation and stretching in a park. Back at the hotel, the boys discovered with happiness that the women's teams of Ukraine and Croatia had just arrived...
14.00 : Back to concentration and pre-game briefing. The plan is clear, we set up a strategy which would allow us to counter a maximum of the Swiss assaults, before being able to carry the danger forward by fast counter-attacks. We know that our possibilities will be rare and we will have to take advantage of it to hold the score. Everyone knows their role and is ready to give everything for the group.
15.15: we go on the field. The warm-up is intense. The pressure too. We have to manage the stress and the excitement before the game. We work on our breathing and we remember some essential principles:
- let's control what we can control
- enjoy the moment
- play with freedom and confidence
16.45: the national anthem rings out. What an emotion! On the bench at the edge of the field and you behind your screen, we feel pride for our band of young champions. By being in their place, they have already won everything!
The rest, we all know it... during 40 minutes, the boys fight like Luxembourg lions to push back the Swiss. Their courage and self-sacrifice is magnificent against 19 years old Swiss players, strong, organized, very good technically and who impose a very sustained rhythm to the game. Our guys respect the game plan and stay in contact with their opponents (0-1). The end of the game is more difficult. The tiredness pushes us to commit some small errors which are paid cash at this level. The Swiss are opportunists and score 6 goals in 20 minutes. They are happy and we can feel in their eyes a lot of respect for our young team which left all its forces in the battle.
The return to the hotel is painful. The guys are sad, disappointed, shocked... that's a good thing! It shows how important this tournament is for them. For an hour or two, they digest the defeat, as we the staff. Afterwards, we meet for dinner and then a good moment together in the living room. The moment is emotional. The bodies are tired but the boys raise their heads, smiles and hope are on their faces. Of course, today we did not win this game. But we have learned a lot from this first experience! So we won the essential.
22.00: the staff still prepares the adjustments for the match of the next day while the champions rest. Tomorrow is another day, a new battle to fight, new lessons to learn, new adventures to live! What a joy to be with them here! I can't wait for the next part...
Thank you all for your support!
The 🇱🇺 dream team 🏑💪🏽