Nicknamed 'Piquenbauer' in his homeland in honour of the legendary German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer, Barcelona and Spain’s classy centre-back Gerard Pique has already done plenty to justify such comparisons. At the tender age of 23, the 6’3” defender has UEFA Champions League winners’ medals from his time at Manchester United and Barça, while he has been an integral part of La Roja’s run to the semi-finals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Indeed, never before have Spain appeared in the semi-finals at the global showpiece, though such was the narrow nature of their 1-0 last-eight win over Paraguay that the achievement took some time to sink in. “Everyone’s still looking quite tense because it was a really tough game,” Pique told FIFA.com.
“Paraguay made life very difficult for us. They kept things very tight at the back, had a few chances and even a penalty. But from that point on I think we controlled the game, created opportunities of our own and, despite also missing a penalty, we managed to grab a goal and win the game.”
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