Coming fixtures
Copa del Rey final Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona 30 May
Second division Day 41 + play-offs 30/31 May
Champions League final Juventus v Barcelona 6 Jun

Europa League final

Dnipro 2 - Sevilla 3

Sevilla are Europa League champions again after the Andalusians beat Dnipro in a thrilling final in Warsaw on Wednesday evening! Having won the competition three times in the last ten years, the latest only twelve months ago, Emery’s side were clear favourites. However despite dominating play they were caught out in a quick counter-attack early on, Kalinic getting on the end of a Mateus cross to head the opener past Sergio Rico. The Andalusians reacted though with two goals in a three minute period around the half hour mark, Krychowiak turning a shot past Boyko following a set-piece corner, and Reyes slipping a pass through for Bacca to score the second. Rico had to make a finger-tip save from Konoplyanka soon afterwards though, and with the first half coming to a close Rotan made it all square once again with a well struck free kick. The pace dropped off in the second half as the two teams battled it out in midfield, but with seventeen minutes to go Vitolo poked a pass over for Bacca to fire home his second of the night. Boyko did well to stop the Colombian striker from heading in his hat-trick a few minutes later, and there was a late worry (unfounded in the end) when Mateus collapsed on the pitch after a clash of heads with Trémoulinas, but Sevilla controlled the final minutes after that for a win which not only gives them a record fourth title, but also ensures them their place in next season’s Champions League. (27.05.15)

Spanish international squad

Vicente Del Bosque named a 24 man squad today for the upcoming friendly game against Costa Rica and European qualifier with Belarus. Sevilla’s Sergio Rico and Aleix Vidal were called up for the first time, and there were recalls for Paco Alcácer and Nolito. Out though for various reasons go Sergio Asenjo, Raúl Albiol, Mario Suárez and Juanmi. Bayern Munich’s Thiago was due to be called up as well, but he suffered a relapse of his injury, and Chelsea’s Diego Costa was not considered fit enough after his recent injury lay-off. Juanmi was however asked by Del Bosque to join the squad for pre-match training together with four uncapped youngsters, Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético), Jonny (Celta), Duarte (Espanyol) and Gayà (Valencia). (26.05.15)

Full squad:
Keepers: De Gea (Manchester United), Casillas (Real Madrid), Sergio Rico (Sevilla);
Defenders: San José (Athletic Bilbao), Juanfran (Atlético Madrid), Jordi Alba, Marc Bartra and Piqué (Barcelona), Bernat (Bayern Munich), Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid);
Midfielders: Koke (Atlético Madrid), Cazorla (Arsenal), Busquets and Iniesta (Barcelona), Fàbregas (Chelsea), David Silva (Manchester City), Isco (Real Madrid), Aleix Vidal and Vitolo (Sevilla);
Forwards: Pedro (Barcelona), Nolito (Celta), Morata (Juventus), Paco Alcácer (Valencia).

Euro 2016 fixtures
Group C table
Friendly internationals

Match round-up - First Division, Day 38

Another amazing end to the season, with several issues not decided until late on in the evening. Barcelona had already won the league title though, and there was a festival atmosphere in the Nou Camp, with Xavi saying goodbye to the home fans. Visitors Deportivo needed a point to stay up however, and although they went two down to strikes by Messi, two late goals by Lucas Pérez and Salomao forced a 2-2 draw which keeps them in the top flight for another season. As things panned out Granada and Atlético Madrid both needed a point to achieve their differing objectives, the locals to steer clear of the drop zone and the visitors to stay in third spot, and it was no surprise that their match ended 0-0. Excitement though at Almería, where the Andalusians went ahead twice before eventually succumbing 2-3 to Valencia. Paco Alcácer’s late strike meant that the Ches hold on to the fourth Champions League spot, and Almería go down, irrespective of whether the CAS docks them the three point penalty or not. All of that meant that Eibar are also relegated despite a 3-0 victory over bottom club Córdoba, the Basque side losing out on head-to-head results in a three-way points tie with Deportivo and Granada. They still do have a remote chance of saving themselves though if teams such as Elche or Getafe cannot settle their financial obligations by the stipulated deadlines.

Valencia’s late win deprived Sevilla of fourth spot, even though Unai Emery’s team beat Málaga 2-3. They finish a point behind the Ches, although they have a second chance of making it into the Champions League next season if they can win the Europa League final next Wednesday. That would mean an unprecedented five Spanish sides in the top competition, and would free up one more spot for next year’s Europa League. One of those places is for the Copa del Rey winners, but finalists Athletic Bilbao hedged their bets by beating the already qualified sixth placed Villarreal 4-0 to finish seventh, which gives them a better class ticket anyway. If Sevilla are successful then eighth place will also allow entry to Europe, and Celta snatched that spot from several teams after coming from behind twice with ten men to beat rivals Espanyol 3-2. Rayo Vallecano also had an outside chance of making it into the top eight, although a 2-4 defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad meant they finished a still respectable tenth equal. Two other games with nothing at stake, second placed Real Madrid thrashing neighbours Getafe 7-3 with yet another hat-trick from this year’s “Pichichi” Ronaldo, and Levante and Elche playing out a 0-0 draw earlier in the evening. (23.05.15)

Heroes & Villains section: Top scorers, keepers, red & yellow cards, referees

Match round-up - Second Division, Day 39

Betis beat Racing Santander 2-4 on Thursday evening, and they only need two points in their last three matches for a quick return to the top flight. Later in the evening Llagostera missed out on a chance to make it into the play-off spots after they lost 2-3 to Albacete, and they remain three points behind Zaragoza in the table, even though the Maños were beaten 0-1 by Mirandés on Wednesday. The results meant that the top five are at least assured of a place in the play-offs, with only one spot still open. After the midweek games Racing, Sabadell, Barcelona B and Recreativo remain in the relegation places, although several clubs are struggling financially, and if they can’t resolve their problems they could go down instead of any of the teams in the bottom four. (21.05.15)

A round of midweek games in the second division this week, with Girona moving two points ahead of Sporting Gijón in the fight for second spot after a 0-3 win at Alavés on Wednesday evening. Sporting themselves were held to a 0-0 draw at Alcorcón, and they are now just four points clear of Valladolid and Las Palmas, who both won on Tuesday. Leaders Betis play tomorrow. (20.05.15)

Second division B, promotion and relegation
Play-off fixtures and kick-off times (open link)

Match round-up - First Division, Day 37

The CAS have put off the decision about Almería’s three point deduction until next week, and the club therefore remain on 32 points going into their last match against Valencia. If they don’t win that though they will definitely finish in the bottom three, although with Elche and Getafe also facing possible relegation if they can’t settle their debts with the tax authorities in the next couple of weeks or so, it looks like the final decision on who stays up and who goes down will not be known until well after the season has finished. (20.05.15)

Barcelona are the new league champions! Exactly one year after Atlético Madrid won the league in the Nou Camp, Luis Enrique’s side repaid the favour with a 0-1 victory in the Calderón stadium. Messi got the only goal after Pedro set him up midway through the second half to maintain the four point gap over Real Madrid, whose 1-4 win at Espanyol was finally in vain. Ronaldo did help himself to another hat-trick though to virtually ensure the Pichichi award, with Marcelo getting one in between, and Stuani temporarily equalizing for the locals. Atlético still need a point to tie up third spot after Valencia drew 1-1 with Celta, Otamendi saving a point for Nuno’s side after Pablo Hernández had headed the Galicians into an early lead. Sevilla could pip the Ches for fourth place though after they came from behind to beat Almería 2-1, Iborra scoring twice late on to overturn Thievy’s opener. The result closes the gap to one point, although Sevilla have a second option for making it into next season’s Champions League after they won through to the Europa League final mid-week.

After today’s results Eibar and Almería join the already relegated Córdoba in the bottom three, although Eibar still have a chance of saving themselves after they picked up a vital point in a 1-1 draw at Getafe. Both goals came from corners midway through the first half, Hinestroza and Borja the scorers. Eibar host Córdoba next Saturday, and a victory there may just be enough if other results go in their favour. Amería meanwhile need to win against Valencia to have any hope of escaping the drop, although they could of course be down earlier if the CAS uphold FIFA’s three point deduction when they meet next Wednesday. Deportivo and Granada are the only other sides who could be relegated, although both won on Sunday to move two points clear of their rivals, Deportivo beating Levante 2-0 with strikes from Lopo and Juanfran, and Granada winning 0-3 at Real Sociedad with late goals from El-Arabi, Roberto Ibáñez and Rochina. The two teams have difficult if not impossible last fixtures though, the Galicians visiting the Nou Camp and the Andalusians hosting Atlético.

The remaining Europa League spots are also up for grabs, although how many places are available will not be known until the Copa del Rey and Europa League finals have taken place. However if Barcelona and Sevilla win those games, then the team finishing eighth in the league could be playing in Europe next season. Sixth placed Villarreal are already sure of one spot though, and they pushed Málaga down to eighth after beating the Andalusians 2-1, Gerard Moreno scoring twice in the last ten minutes before Darder’s last minute consolation. Cup finalists Athletic Bilbao move above Málaga to seventh after coming from two goals down to beat Elche 2-3, and they now have two bites at the cherry, either by winning the cup or finishing in that seventh spot. Two goals from Jonathas put the locals well ahead at the break, but youngsters Aketxe, San José and Williams scored three in the last ten minutes or so to turn the scoreline around. Espanyol, Celta and Rayo Vallecano are also within reach coming in to the last day, Paco Jémez’s side keeping their chances open with a 1-2 victory at Córdoba. Embarba fired home the winner there after Luso had cancelled out Raúl Baena’s earlier strike. (17.05.15)


Second division

Under 17 European championship

Spain's under 17s also failed to make it to the World Cup after they lost to England in the penalty shoot-out following another 0-0 draw. (19.05.15)

Spain are out of the European championships, Santi Denía’s side losing 2-4 to Germany in a penalty shoot out after their quarter final tie ended without goals. The youngsters still have one game left though, with a play-off against the loser of the tie between England and Russia to decide one of the six European places for the upcoming youth World Cup. (15.05.15)

Spanish under 19 squad for European Elite round

Europa League, semi-finals, second leg

Fiorentina 0 - Sevilla 2

No problems for Sevilla on Thursday evening, Unai Emery’s side cruising into their second Europa League final in a row and their fourth in ten years after a 0-2 victory over Fiorentina. Already three goals up from the first leg, Bacca and Carriço scored twice in a five minute period midway through the first half to put the game beyond the reach of the Italians, both coming from Banega free kicks. Before the goals though Sergio Rico had to make a brilliant save from Gonzalo’s header, and the young keeper was in action several times after that, in particular tipping a long shot from Pizarro over the bar before the break. The locals did have a chance to get back in the game when Krychowiak gave away a penalty on Pizarro midway through the second half, but Ilicic blasted the spot kick over the bar. Sevilla’s opponents in the final in Warsaw will be Ukraine’s Dnipro, victors over Napoli in the other semi-final, with an added incentive this time around as the winners will qualify for next season’s Champions League. (14.05.15)

Champions League, semi-finals, second leg

Final, 6th June (Berlin): Juventus v Barcelona

Real Madrid 1 - Juventus 1

Real Madrid are out of the Champions League! Ancelotti’s side will not be defending their title in Berlin after they were unable to overturn a first leg defeat against Juventus in the return match at the Bernabeu stadium. Madrid had the better chances early on, Benzema and Ronaldo going close and Bale bringing a good save out of Buffon. And midway through the first half Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Chiellini brought down James in the area. Buffon had to keep out a couple of shots from Benzema, Ronaldo hit the side netting and Ramos headed over from a corner, and after the interval Marcelo fired a long shot just wide of the post. Up to that point Casillas only had to keep out one real shot from Vidal, but Marchisio went close, and some twelve minutes in to the second half Morata equalized against his old club following a wide Pirlo free kick, Vidal playing the ball back into the area for Pogba to head across, and the Spanish international striker volleying a shot past the local keeper. Bale in particular came close to scoring two or three times after that, and substitute Chicharito felt he should have had a penalty when Evra pushed him over in the box. But Casillas also had to make saves from Marchisio and Pogba, and the Italians held on to make it through to a final they last won some nineteen years ago. (13.05.15)

Bayern Munich 3 - Barcelona 2

Barcelona are through to their first Champions League final in four years after beating Bayern Munich 5-3 on aggregate! The three goal margin from the first leg made them clear favourties, but with only seven minutes gone an unmarked Benatia headed one back from a Xabi Alonso corner. That gave Guardiola’s side hope, but with only a quarter of an hour gone Messi threaded the ball through for Luis Suárez to set up Neymar for an equalizer and a vital away goal. Ter Stegen had to be at his best to keep out Müller and Lewandowski soon afterwards, but with half an hour on the clock Barça’s magical front three combined again, Messi heading the ball on for Suárez to cross the ball over for Neymar to get his second of the night. Although Bayern now needed five, they didn’t give up, Stegen having to push a shot from Lewandowski off the line and Benatia heading close a couple of times before the break. And after the restart they did get two back to win the match on the night, Schweinsteiger setting up Lewandowski and then Müller for them to fire shots past the visiting keeper. Luis Enrique’s team advance to the final in Berlin though, and they now wait to see if Real Madrid will join them in that long awaited “clasico” at the top level of European football. (12.05.15)

Match round-up - First Division, Day 36

Rayo Vallecano still have an outside chance of a place in next season’s Europa League after a 2-0 win over neighbours Getafe on Monday evening. A goal in each half by Manucho and Miku took Paco Jémez’s side to within five points of seventh placed Málaga, and left their rivals down in fifteenth place, still only five points above the drop zone. (11.05.15)

Atlético Madrid maintain the four point gap over Valencia after a 2-2 draw at Levante in this Sunday’s mid-day game. The home side went ahead twice though, Barral opening the scoring on the half hour mark, and Kalu Uche restoring the lead after Siqueira had equalized. Substitute Fernando Torres saved a point for the visitors however with a header from Koke’s corner near the end. Simeone’s team have at least made sure of one of the four Champions League spots after fifth placed Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at a depleted Celta later in the evening. Gameiro put the Andalusians in front early on, but Santi Mina levelled it with a hotly disputed penalty after the interval. Sevilla stay three points behind Valencia, and it now looks like their best chance of making it to next season’s Champions League is to win the Europa League final, which this year gives access to the top competition. Sixth placed Villarreal meanwhile sealed their place in the Europa League with a 1-0 victory over neighbours Elche, Joel Campbell heading the only goal midway through the first half. And Málaga improved their chances of a return to Europe as well after beating Almería 1-2, Javi Guerra getting the winner after Thomas had cancelled out an earlier Casado own goal to take the Andalusians back up to seventh. Almería stay a point ahead of Deportivo, Granada and Eibar pending the aforementioned decision on the deduction of three points by FIFA for late payment of interest charges on an international transfer. (10.05.15)

Strike or no strike, the title race appears to be over after Barcelona opened up a four point gap over rivals Real Madrid. Luis Enrique’s side were first up on Saturday, and they built on their midweek Champions League win with a 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad. Both goals came in the second half, Neymar heading in the first from Messi’s cross, and substitute Pedro getting the second with a spectacular overhead kick some five minutes from the end. Real Madrid though were held to a 2-2 draw by fourth placed Valencia later in the evening, and they now need to hope that Barça don’t win either of their last two games against Atlético and Deportivo. The visitors scored twice in the first half hour, Alcácer opening the scoring from Gayà’s cross and Javi Fuego heading the second from a Parejo free kick. Diego Alves saved a Ronaldo penalty on the stroke of half time, but Pepe headed one back from a corner soon after the restart, and Isco saved a point with a long shot near the end. Athletic Bilbao drew 1-1 with Deportivo in the last match of the day to return to seventh spot, just above Espanyol on head-to-head goal difference. Aduríz headed the Basque side in front with a quarter fo an hour gone, but Lopo headed a last second equalizer to keep alive his team’s hope of survival. They are now in a three-way tie with Eibar and with Granada, who beat the already relegated Córdoba 2-0 (a Mainz header and an El-Arabi penalty) to make it two wins in a row under new coach Sandoval. Depor have the better record of the three summing up all the head-to-head results and they consequently move out of the drop zone, although the final relegation spots may also depend on whether Almería win their appeal against FIFA’s three point deduction, which will now be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland on 20th May, just three days before the season finishes. (09.05.15)

Espanyol threw down the gauntlet to the other teams pushing for the remaining Europa League spots with a 0-2 victory at Eibar on Friday evening. A strike in each half from Sergio García and Stuani took the Catalans to seventh, and left their hosts just a point above the drop zone pending the rest of the weekend games. (08.05.15)


Second division

Proposed strike in Spanish football

The Spanish courts suspended the strike, and the league and cup programmes will therefore carry on as normal. (14.05.15)

Three weeks to go to the end of the season, promotion and relegation issues in the balance, three Spanish sides fighting for places in European finals, the Spanish cup final approaching, and suddenly we are facing a players’ strike which is likely to throw everything into turmoil! Ostensibly the problem is the disaccord over the recently approved television rights decree, the government having just passed a law obliging the rights to be sold collectively by auction (similar to procedures already used in other countries). The decree has the full backing of the league (LFP) and the clubs, including those who stand to get less from the deal, but now the federation (RFEF) and the players’ union (AFE) have come out against the new law, and have threatened to call an indefinite strike as from next weekend.

Without going in to too much detail, the main complaint is about the split of money between the top flight and the lower divisions, and other social rights and obligations of the players, which the AFE would like to have included in the law. However part of the problem boils down to ongoing conflicts between the various bodies, who have been at loggerheads for some time. The LFP is headed up by Javier Tebas, a self-righteous lawyer who, whilst making important headroads in financial fair play regulations and other areas within the Spanish game, has managed to upset many people with his pompous attitude. He has been fighting for some time with RFEF`s long standing president Angel Villar, a close associate of Josef Blatter who refused to cooperate in the recent FIFA corruption investigations, and who has yet to give satisfactory explanations to sports minister Miguel Cardenal and the sports commission (CSD) as to how some €8 million of public money has been spent. Meanwhile Villar has sided with AFE president Luis Rubiales, ex Levante defender who has extended his hard-man reputation into the offices, and who has already called several strikes since he took over five years ago.

It seems as much as anything that Villar and Rubiales are upset that they were not included in the negotiations, which the CSD and LFP rushed through without them (although Cardenal says that Villar was invited but ignored the invitations). Tebas has not helped matters though threatening to denounce any strike as illegal, and likening a photo of Rubiales backed by several top players (including Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi, Iniesta and Piqué) as remiscent of photos of the Basque terrorists when they made their demands some years ago! Meanwhile other cynics question what some of the richest players in the world are doing backing a strike, especially as the agreement they are opposing will make them even richer.

All of that though seems like a recipe for disaster, and there is little hope as things stand right now that the strike can be avoided. There are virtually no free dates to reschedule any matches, and some voices are saying that the league could end this weekend, as under Spanish labour law any days lost to a strike do not have to be made up afterwards. One can only hope that common sense prevails, that egos can be set aside, and that an agreement can be reached between all parties. It will be a sad day for Spanish football if they can’t. (08.05.15)

Match round-up - First Division, Day 35

Almería and Celta drew 2-2 on Monday evening, a result which didn’t help either side in achieving their respective objectives. The Galicians were looking to close in on the European spots, and they went two up by the break with goals from Nolito and Santi Mina. Strikes by Thievy and Zongo levelled the scores, but in the end the locals had to settle for a point which keeps them just above the drop zone, albeit with the outcome of their appeal against FIFA’s three point deduction still hanging above their heads. (04.05.15)

Valencia moved three points clear of Sevilla in the fight for the last Champions League spot after a 3-1 victory over Eibar on Sunday evening. Otamendi headed the Ches into the lead on the half hour mark, and Parejo and Alcácer added two more in the second half before Arruabarrena got a late consolation for the Basque side, who are now just a point above the drop zone. Nuno’s team do have to visit the Bernabeu stadium next weekend however. Málaga’s bad recent form continued into this weekend, and they drop down to eighth after a 1-2 defeat against Elche, who themselves assured another season in the top flight (subject to their financial situation). The visitors got their goals on two quick breakaways, Jonathas scoring with half an hour gone and Pasalic getting the second with a couple of minutes to go. Javi Guerra got one back in injury time, but it could have been a different result had Duda not fired a penalty kick against the post after Tyton was sent off for a foul on Guerra earlier on in the second half. Málaga’s loss leaves the final Europa League spots wide open, although Espanyol missed out on a chance to move level with seventh placed Athletic after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Rayo Vallecano in this Sunday’s mid-day game. Insúa put the visitors ahead midway through the first half, but Héctor Moreno equalized with ten minutes to go. With three games remaining, Córdoba are the first team to be mathematically relegated, but Granada kept their hopes of survival alive with a 1-2 win at Getafe. El-Arabi got both goals, the first from the penalty spot, with Pedro León scoring for the visitors in-between. It was a great start for new coach José Ramón Sandoval, who took over from Abel Resino a couple of days ago, and the Andalusians are now just three points away from safety. (03.05.15)

Leaders Barcelona made it 14 goals in five days after thrashing bottom club Córdoba 0-8 on Saturday afternoon. The first goal didn’t come though until shortly before half time when Rakitic opened the scoring, but Luis Suárez and Messi added two more either side of the break, and Suárez and Piqué headed two more in the next twenty minutes. Messi made it six with ten minutes to go, and Neymar converted a penalty before Suárez completed his hat-trick near the end. Real Madrid stay two points behind Luis Enrique’s side though after they beat Sevilla 2-3 later in the evening. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in just over a minute later on in the first half, and although Bacca got one back from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time, Ronaldo headed his third midway through the second half. Iborra scored again for the locals though, and only a couple of late stops by Casillas prevented the Andalusians from saving their unbeaten home record in the end. Atlético Madrid stay third although they drop further behind the top two after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Athletic Bilbao. The result takes the Basque side up to seventh, still six points below Villarreal after Marcelino’s team drew 1-1 at Deportivo. Both goals came within a minute of each other in the second half, Jaume Costa giving the visitors the lead, and Borges replying for the Galicians, who stay down in the bottom three despite the result. (02.05.15)

Real Sociedad kept their hopes of a place in Europe alive with a 3-0 victory over Levante in the Friday night game. Finnbogason gave the locals an early lead, and Bergara and Vela added two more after the break to take David Moyes’ side to within four points of seventh spot. (01.05.15)


Second division

Friendly international

Netherlands 2 - Spain 0

Another disappointing night for Spain, Del Bosque’s side falling to a 2-0 defeat against Netherlands in their latest friendly match. The coach made nine changes to the line-up he put out against Ukraine four days ago, with only Piqué and Isco starting both games. That was probably too much though against the team who humiliated them in last summer’s World Cup, and within sixteen minutes they found themselves two goals down, De Vrij heading the first of those from Sneijder’s cross after a corner came back out to the ex Real Madrid midfielder. Depay had already tested De Gea before that, and with the defence in disarray Klaassen made it two, beating the keeper at the second attempt after Depay and Willems combined to set him up. Juanmi was making his international debut up front, and he and Pedro did cause a few problems for Vermeer and his back four before the break. But Martins Indi bounced a header over the bar with the goal at his mercy soon after the restart, and De Gea had to be at his best to keep out Depay a few minutes later. Vermeer had to save from a low Piqué free kick after that, new boy Vitolo fired a shot just wide of the post, and Silva got the ball in the net only to be pulled up for offside, but for the third friendly game in a row Spain had lost without scoring a single goal, and Del Bosque is running out of time in his quest to restore “la selección” to their former glory. (31.03.15)

Under 21 friendly international

Spain 4 - Belarus 0

Spain’s new under 21 side followed up their win against Norway with a 4-0 victory over Belarus on Monday evening. Team captain Gerard Deulofeu led by example, the Sevilla winger scoring the second goal himself and having a hand in the other three, the first midway through the first half with a cross from the right which Shastsilouski turned into his own net. After Munir put him through to score just after the break, Deulofeu returned the favour for the Barcelona striker to make it three soon afterwards. Six minutes later substitute Moi Gómez latched on to another Deulofeu assist for the fourth, and Williams could have added a fifth had his strike not been ruled out for a narrow offside later on. (30.03.15)

Spain 2 - Norway 0

Under 17 Euro qualifiers
Under 18 Atlantic Cup
Other youth international games:
Under 19 / Under 16

Euro 2016 qualifier

Spain 1 - Ukraine 0

A close thing in the end, but Spain beat Ukraine 1-0 to move three points clear of their opponents in their group. Starting the day level in the table with the East Europeans, and still three points behind group leaders Slovakia, this was a must win match. Silva and Isco went close early on, and Pyatov had to tip a long shot from Koke over the bar, but Fedestkiy and Rotan fired shots just wide in reply. With just under half an hour gone though Koke played Iniesta’s pass straight into the path of Morata, who held off his marker before lifting a deflected shot over the keeper and in to the net. Sergio Ramos came close to a second when he headed Silva’s wide free kick against the bar just before the break, but after the restart Casillas had to save three times from Rotan, once when he gave the ball away to the midfielder himself, and for a while it looked as if Ukraine must equalize. In the end though Del Bosque’s side held it together, and only a lungeing save by Pyatov prevented Cazorla from adding to the scoreline near the end. (27.03.15)

Full and under 21 squads
Group C table
Euro 2016 fixtures
Friendly internationals

Copa del Rey, semi-finals, second leg

This year’s cup final will be between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao after both won through their respective semi-finals. Barcelona came into their tie at Villarreal 3-1 up from the first leg, and within three minutes Neymar put them further ahead from Messi’s cross. Jonathan Dos Santos equalized shortly before the break though, and they were the better team until Pina was sent off for a reckless tackle on Neymar midway through the second half. A few minutes later Luis Suárez ran through to make it two, and Neymar wrapped up a 1-3 victory with a header from Xavi’s cross with two minutes to go. Athletic Bilbao will be Barça’s opponents for the third time in seven years after they beat Espanyol 0-2 later in the evening. After the 1-1 draw in Bilbao, the locals were hoping for an all-Catalan final. However Aduríz opened the scoring for the visitors with just under a quarter of an hour gone, firing a shot on the turn past Pau López, and Etxeita headed in an Iraola corner shortly before the break to make it two. That left Espanyol needing three goals, which they never looked like getting. (04.03.15)

Latest transfers

The winter transfer window closed at midnight last Friday, not so much with a bang as with a gentle push. There was the usual last day rush though, with 26 moves between the top two divisions, Levante the last in to present Fulham’s Bryan Ruíz just seconds after the shutters came down. That deal is now in the hands of FIFA, who must decide whether to allow it or not given that the papers were presented earlier but with a mistake as to the length of the contract. Elsewhere the main moves were by teams struggling to avoid the drop, Granada signing seven new players, and Córdoba and Deportivo five each. Of course three transfers stood out amongst the rest during the whole period, those of Fernando Torres (Chelsea / AC Milan to Atlético), Lucas Silva (Cruzeiro to Real Madrid), and Enzo Pérez (Benfica to Valencia). Some old flames have also returned, such as Javi Guerra, Colunga and Oriol Riera, and others have left us, including Gabriel Paulista, Roque Santa Cruz, Teerasil Dangda and Mike Havenaar. That’s it though folks until the end of the season, although signings can still be made to replace players with long term injuries, or where the player himself is unemployed. In fact a couple of moves did go through over the weekend, given that the window in other countries stayed open a little longer. All of that, and details of more of those last minute moves, can be followed at the links given below. (03.02.15)

Date Player (Country) Old club New club Position/Comments
30/01/15 Colunga
Brighton (ENG) Granada FW Ex Getafe striker last minute loan signing. Sissoko left out of squad to make room.
30/01/15 Zuculini (ARG)
Manchester City (ENG) / Valencia Córdoba MF Didn't have any success at Mestalla, but will be staying on in Spain on new loan deal.
30/01/15 Rafa Paez
Liverpool (ENG) / Bolonia (ITA) Eibar DF Signed by Reds from Real Madrid in 2013, and joins on loan to end of season.


Post-window transfers

Mid-season transfers - first division
Mid-season transfers - second division
First division squads
Second division squads
Regional 2B grouping

Friendly fixtures

As usual during the festive season, several friendly encounters took place over the last few days. The regional sides from the Basque country (Euskadi) and Catalonia met in the San Mamés stadium on Sunday night, the game ending 1-1 after Athletic’s Aduríz opened the scoring for the locals and Espanyol’s Sergio García levelled it for the visitors. The following day the charity match “Champions 4 Life” was hosted by Atlético Madrid, with some 60 players from Spain’s first and second divisions playing out 3 periods of 30 minutes between “West” and “East”. And on Tuesday Real Madrid met AC Milan in an invitation game in Dubai, the Italians running out 2-4 winners against the new “World Champions”. Ronaldo and Benzema got the goals for Ancelotti’s side. Further details on those games and more via the above link. (30.12.14)

Pre-season fixtures

Club World Cup

Real Madrid 2 - San Lorenzo 0

Real Madrid are World Champions after they beat Argentina’s San Lorenzo 2-0 in the final in Marrakesh! Once again Sergio Ramos was the hero of the night, the Spanish international defender shrugging off an injury and heading in another Kroos corner to open the scoring shortly before the break, a goal which won him the “player of the tournament” award. Before that Ancelotti’s side had been on top in a physical game, Ronaldo seeing a couple of free kicks deflected away by the defensive wall, and Benzema and Bale coming up against Torrico. Ronaldo felt he should have had a penalty when his shot hit Kannemann on the arm shortly before the interval, but some six minutes after the restart Gareth Bale added a second, shooting low under the keeper after picking up Isco’s pass. Benzema went close a couple of times after that, and Casillas wasn’t called upon until the last ten minutes, when he had to save long efforts from Kalinski and Mercier. A new trophy for Madrid, but their fourth title of the year, and after a record run of 22 consecutive victories they will be looking to add to their successes in the new year. (20.12.14)

Semi-final: Cruz Azul 0 – Real Madrid 4

Spanish Super Cup
European Super Cup

Summary of 2013/2014

League champions Atlético Madrid
Spanish cup winners Real Madrid
Promoted to the first division Eibar, Deportivo, Córdoba
Relegated to the second division A Osasuna, Valladolid, Betis
Promoted to the second division A Racing Santander, Albacete, Llagostera, Leganés
Relegated to the second division B Hércules, Jaén, Castilla, Murcia

Clubs taking part in European competitions in 2014/15 season
Champions League Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao
Europa League Sevilla, Villarreal, Real Sociedad
European Super Cup Real Madrid and Sevilla

  Borja Pantzov and his side-kick Goran Arsic are in Poland! You can follow their latest adventures in Borja's Blog. Borja's Blog

First Division
Athletic 4-0 Villarreal
Levante 0-0 Elche
Barcelona 2-2 Deportivo
Granada 0-0 Atlético
Rayo 2-4 Real Soc
Eibar 3-0 Córdoba
R Madrid 7-3 Getafe
Celta 3-2 Espanyol
Almería 2-3 Valencia
Málaga 2-3 Sevilla
Day 38 - May 23

Villarreal 2-1 Málaga
Elche 2-3 Athletic
Deportivo 2-0 Levante
Atlético 0-1 Barcelona
Real Soc 0-3 Granada
Córdoba 1-2 Rayo
Getafe 1-1 Eibar
Espanyol 1-4 R Madrid
Valencia 1-1 Celta
Sevilla 2-1 Almería
Day 37 - May 17

Ticket Office


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