Monday, December 5, 2022

What if Catalonia World Cup 2010 team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Catalonia vs Honduras 2010

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Eric Cantona, a French Catalan, controversially claimed that the 2010 World Cup victory belonged to Catalonia rather than Spain. It is worth noting that Spain's winning team included seven players from Catalonia: Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevila, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas, and Victor Valdes, with four of them starting in the Final against the Netherlands. Considering this, one might wonder how things would have unfolded if Catalonia had become a FIFA member and participated in the World Cup Finals in South Africa.
I also did a Spain without Catalan players team before I create this Catalonia World Cup team.  Andres Iniesta and Pedro were not Catalan, but they played for Barcelona. 

The starting lineup of Catalonia would include six key players from Spain's World Cup-winning team. However, the team's depth was notably weaker, with several players either at the end of their careers or playing in lower divisions. In a real-life match against Argentina in December 2009, Catalonia secured a 4-2 victory with a lineup similar to this team. It is important to note that Argentina was missing manager Diego Maradona and some of their 2010 World Cup starters, but still featured talented players such as Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain. While defeating Argentina with such a scoreline is impressive, it remains challenging to fully judge the capabilities of the Catalan team based on a single friendly match.

Spain's World Cup victory was built on a solid defense, conceding only 2 goals throughout the tournament, none of which occurred during the knockout stage. The Catalan World Cup team retained most of the key defensive players from that Spanish team. However, the right back position was relatively weaker, with Bruno Saltor having limited playing time towards the end of the 2009-2010 season. On the other hand, the midfield remained strong, featuring Xavi, Sergio Busquets, and Cesc Fabregas in Catalonia's team.
In contrast, Spain's World Cup-winning campaign saw them score a mere eight goals, the lowest tally ever for a World Cup champion. Throughout the knockout stage, they won each match by a narrow 1-0 margin. Despite this, Spain possessed formidable forwards in David Villa and Fernando Torres, who were prolific marksmen of that era. Unfortunately for Catalonia, their World Cup team lacked offensive players from the region. Not a single forward from the World Cup team in South Africa made it to the Catalan team. 

However, if Catalonia managed to convince Lionel Messi to switch his allegiance, they could field a lineup featuring seven key Barcelona players, along with Joan Capdevila and Cesc Fabregas. The remaining two starters and substitutes would have a minimal impact. This would make Catalonia a strong contender for the World Cup. Without Messi, the team had to rely on Bojan, who was highly regarded in 2010 but had questions about leading the forward line of a World Cup contender. Sergio Garcia, playing in the Segunda Division, and Raul Tamudo, included for his experience, rounded out the options for the forward positions.
Catalonia 2010
GK: Victor Valdes  (Barcelona FC)
Victor Valdes spent most of his career with Barcelona. With them, he won three Champions' league title.  He also had a unsuccessful stint with Manchester United. For the national team, he only managed 20 caps due to playing behind Iker Casillas during the prime of his career. He was part of the Spanish squads that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, despite not playing in either tournament.  He also played 12 times for Catalonia.
Victor Valdes
GK: Jordi Codina (Getafe)
Codina was with Real Madrid between 2007 and 2009.  He only made a single appearance.  In 2009, he moved to Getafe where he stayed until 2015.  He served mainly as a backup. He went to play in Cyprus before returning to Spain where he played in the lower division.  He represented Catalonia national team once in 2008.

GK: Kiko Casilla (Cadiz) 
Casilla started playing for Real Madrid reserve team. He went on to appear in 126 competitive matches for Espanyol over six La Liga seasons before returning to Madrid in 2015 as backup to Keylor Navas. In 2019–20, he won promotion to the Premier League with Leeds United. He had loan spell with Elche and Cadiz. He was capped once for Spain in 2014.

RB: Bruno Saltor (Valencia)
Bruno began his professional career with Espanyol, and went on to appear in 128 La Liga matches, all but one of which were with Almería and Valencia. In 2012 he signed with Brighton & Hove Albion, going on to spend seven years with the English club and also acting as its captain.

RB: Damià Abella (Real Betis)
After starting out at Barcelona, Demia spent 4 seasons with Real Betis. Between 2010 and 2014, he played over 120 games for Osasuna.  In 2014, Damià joined Middlesbrough of the Football League Championship on a free transfer, but he rarely played for the next two seasons.  He represented Catalonia for 4 times.

CB/RB: Carles Puyol (Barcelona FC)
As an one-club man, Carles Puyol served as the long-time team captain for his only club Barcelona after taking over from Luis Enrique in August 2004, and went on to appear in 593 official games for the club and win 20 major titles, including  three Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11. He earned 100 caps for Spain, winning the World Cup in 2014 and the European Championship in 2008.
Carlos Puyol 
CB/RB: Oleguer Presas (Ajax)
From 2003 to 2008. Oleguer played for Barcelona FC.  He started the Champions' League Final in 2006 against Arsenal in which Barcelona won their second ever title.  In 2008, he joined Ajax, but he mainly played as a backup over there.  He was a very educated person and had written a book.  He turned down Luis Aragonés to play for Spain.  However, he played 6 times for Catalonia representative side.

CB: Albert Lopo (Deportivo La Coruna)
Over 18 seasons, Lopo amassed La Liga totals of 409 matches. From 1999 to 2006, he played for Espanyol.  Then, he had two stints with Deportivo La Coruna, where he was a solid defender.  In between, he played for Getafe after Deportivo went down a division.  In 2006, he was selected by Spain in a friendly against Romania, but never entered the field.  He remained uncapped for Spain. He played for Catalonia regional team.

CB: Gerard Piqué (Barcelona FC)

Gerard Pique left the youth team of Barcelona to join Manchester United's academy in 2004.  He made his debut with the senior side in the same year.  He returned to Barcelona in 2008.  He had been ever present in Bareclona's glorious period. From 2008 to 2018, he earned 102 caps for Spain.  He was a part of the Golden Generation that won the 2010 World Cup and two European Champions.
Gerard Piqué 
LB: Fernando Navarro (Sevilla)
Fernando Navarro started with Barcelona in 2000.  Then, he played three seasons with Mallorca where he became a starter.  From 2008 to 2015, he had a successful career with Sevilla winning two Europa Cups. Then, he played another three seasons with Deportivo La Coruna.  He played twice for Spain.  He was a part of the 2008 European Championship winning team.

LB: Joan Capdevila (Villarreal)
At the club level, Joan Capedevila started his career with Espanyol in 1998.  He later played for Atletico Madrid, Deportivo la Coruna, Villarreal and Benfica.  The peak of his career was with Deportivo la Coruna and Villarreal. He was capped 60 times for Spain, in a period where Spain won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 European Championship. He was their disputed starting leftback in that era. He was the only starting player in the 2010 Final who was not a member of Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Joan Capedevila
DM: Moisés Hurtado (Espanyol)
Hurtado spent most of his professional career at Espanyol, with which he played the 2007 UEFA Cup Final. He appeared in 180 official games for the club, over the course of seven La Liga seasons.  In 2010, he joined Olympiakos, but he returned to Spain less than a season later with Granada.  He later played Girona.  He had played for Catalonia regional team.

DM: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona FC)
Known for his dirty style of play, Sergio Busquets was Spain's unsung hero at winning the 2010 World Cup and the Euro 2012 tournaments. He made his national team debut in 2009.  He has earned 142 caps at the time of writing. He captained the 2022 World Cup team. At the club lebel, he started his career in 2008 with Barcelona.  He has been an important member of the team ever since.  His father Charles played goalkeeper for Barcelona during the 1990's.

DM/CM/RB: Victor Sanchez  (Xerez)
Victor Sanchez made 302 La Liga appearances and scored 13 goals, starting his career with Barcelona and having loans at Xerez and Getafe. He spent 81⁄2 years at Espanyol, for whom he played 270 games in all competitions.  He was uncapped by Spain, but he had represented Catalonia regional team.

DM/CM: Sergio (Deportivo La Coruna)
A hard-working central midfielder, he was adept at both defence and playmaking, and spent nearly one decade as a professional at Deportivo de La Coruña after starting at Espanyol from 1998 and 2001. Over 14 La Liga seasons, he amassed totals of 418 matches and 34 goals. He represented Spain in the 2002 World Cup.  He had a total of 11 caps between 2001 and 2005.

AM./CM: Xavi (Barcelona FC)
Xavi was perhaps one of greatest playmakers of his generation.  He won everything in football.  Xavi has won 31 trophies, only surpassed by Andrés Iniesta as the most successful Spanish player in history.  For the national team, he had 133 caps and was a part of  the team that won the  2010 World Cup and two European Championship in between.  He was named Euro 2008's player of the tournament. He was finished third at the Ballon d'Or in 2010 and 2011.
LW: Albert Crusat (Almeria)
After starting out at Espanyol, Crusat spent most of his professional career with Almería between 2005 and 2011, appearing in 212 competitive matches and scoring 34 goals over six seasons, four of those in La Liga. He also played two years in England with Wigan Athletic between 2011 and 2013. He had represented Spain in the youth level.

CM/AM: Joan Verdu (Espanyol)
Verdu started with Barcelona B team, but never made the first time.  Between 2006 and 2009, he played for Deportivo la Coruna, where he made a name. Then, he had four good seasons for Espanyol.  Later, he played with Real Betis, Baniyas, Levante, Qingdao Huanghai and Fiorentina,  He played for Spain at the youth level.

AM/SS: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
Cesc Fabregas was lured to play for Arsenal's academy in 2003 from Barcelona FC.  He made his first team debut as a teenager. he helped Arsenal to reach the Champions' league Final in 2005. He was named on the PFA Team of the Year twice.  He returned to Spain in 2011 with Barcelona, but returned to England in 2014, joining Chelsea.  He earned 110 caps.  He was a part of Spain that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships.
Cesc Fabregas
CF/RW/LW: Sergio García (Real Betis) 
Sergio Garcia played a few times for Barcelona FC before he went on to represent mainly Zaragoza and Espanyol, serving as captain of the latter.  He also played for Al-Rayyan. García also represented Spain at all youth levels, as well as appearing frequently for the unofficial Catalan national team.  He played twice for Spain and was a part of Euro 2008 winning team,

ST: Raul Tamudo (Espanyol)
Raul Tamudo was a club legend with Espanyol, where he played from 1997 to 2010.  He captained the side for a decade.  He won two Copa Del Rey with the club as well as reaching the Final of UEFA cup in 2007. He is their all-time leading scorer.  He also played for Real Sociedad, Rayo Vallecano Mexico's C.F. Pachuca and Sabedell FC. He picked up 13 caps for Spain between 2000 and 2007. He was a member of their 2000 silver medal winning team at the Olympics.

FW: Coro (Espanyol)
Ferran Corominas "Coro" spent the majority of his professional career with Espanyol, appearing in 200 competitive games and scoring 24 goals. With the club, he won the 2006 Copa del Rey. In 2017 he signed with Goa in the Indian Super League, winning several team and individual accolades and also being at one point the competition's all-time top-scorer.  He was capped by Spain's youth national team.  He alsi represented Catalonia regional team.

ST: Bojan Krkic (Barcelona FC)
Bojan made his Barcelona first-team debut at the age of 17 years and 19 days, breaking the record set by Lionel Messi. In his debut season, he scored 12 goals in 48 matches. In total, he spent 4 seasons at Camp Nou, scoring 41 goals in 162 games before he was sold in July 2011 to AS Roma.  He also spent time with Stoke City.  He also played in J-League and the MLS.  He was called up by Spain in May, 2008.  He would have became the youngest ever Spanish international, but he fell ill.   He earned his only cap in September of the same year.
Bojan Krkic
Player Pool
Francesc Arnau, Javi Chica, Jordi Alba, Albert Jorquera, Víctor Ruiz,  Raul Rodriguez, Andreu Fontàs, Sergio Juste, Marc Batra, Sergi Roberto, Marc Muniesa, Javi Marquez, Alberto de la Bella, Óscar Serrano, Gabri, Abraham González, David Belenguer, Jonathan Soriano, Albert Luque

Squad Explanation
-- Johan Cruyff was appointed the coach of Catalonia national team (Selecció de futbol de Catalunya) in November, 2009.  Between 2009 and 2013, Catalonia played 4 friendly matches under Trofeu Catalunya Internacional (Catalonia International Trophy).  I used those matches as reference.
Catalonia's results between 2008 and 2012
0-1 vs Argentina Under 21
2-1 vs Colombia
4-2 vs Argentina
4-0 vs Honduras
0-0 vs Tunisia
1-1 Nigeria (played in January, 2013)
-- Despite my initial intention to avoid relying solely on the rosters from specific matches for my team selections, I found myself ultimately using them for the team selection. Identifying eligible players outside of these rosters proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated.
-- Spain won the 2010 World Cup with seven Catalan players.  They were Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevila, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Victor Valdes.  Four of them started in the Final against the Netherlands.  They were based players for this team.
Xavi and Cesc Fabregas
-- Both Pedro and Andres Iniesta played for Barcelona FC, but they were not Catalan.  Pedro hailed from the Canary Islands, while Iniesta originated from Castilla–La Mancha.  Although Iniesta represented the Catalonia as a guest player, I have chosen to exclude all guest players from the team. All players must be ethnic Catalan or born in Catalonia.
--  Lionel Messi is an Argentine player so his eligibility for this team should be besides the question.  However, according to FIFA rules, Messi can switch his allegiance to Catalonia if FIFA recognizes Catalonia as a member and he never plays for Argentina in an official match after Catalonia grants FIFA membership.  Several players have switched to Kosovo under the same rule. Messi has lived in Catalonia since he was 14 years old.  He has fulfilled FIFA's residential requirement of 5 years under the age of 21.  Moreover, his great-great-grandfather Ramon Lloyd Perez was born in 1895 in El Poale, Catalona. Thus, he could be considered to be an ethnic Catalan.  And the "grandfather rule" is a common practice in the football's world.  In real life, he earned his Spanish passport through his Catalan roots, and Spain did try to "cap" him.  The inclusion of Messi would have significantly changed the quality of this team.  This team lacked a good attacker. But would Messi switch his allegiance to Catalonia? I seriously doubted that.  He had mentioned numerous time that he would only play for Argentina. 
-- Hugo Lloris of France is also of Catalan descent.  Liked Messi, he would be allowed to make the switch, but I decided not to select him.
-- Catalonia boasted a plethora of promising young talents, some of whom had yet to make their debut for their club's first team but had already received their first "caps" for Catalonia. Among them were Sergi Roberto, Víctor Ruiz, Dídac Vilà, Raul Rodriguez, Andreu Fontàs, Sergio Juste, Martin Montoya, Álvaro Vázquez, Cristian Tello, Oriol Romeu, and Aleix Vidal. Notably, Gerard Deulofeu was only 16 years old in 2010. In contrast to the actual Catalonia national team, I opted for more experienced players. Jordi Alba belonged to this talented group, but I seriously considered him. I selected Bojan Krkic due to his three seasons of experience in La Liga, which even earned him a senior cap for Spain at that point.
-- Six players played for Barcelona FC while Espanyol had three.  Every player on the team had played or came from the academy from either Barcelona and Espanyol at one point of their careers. Thirteen of them went through Espanyol while Barcelona had 12 players.  Víctor Sánchez, Joan Verdu and Sergio Garcia were on the books of both teams, but Verdu never played for Barcelona's first team.  
-- Three players on this Catalan team made it to the World Cup All-Star team while Spain had two.
-- Víctor Valdés was an automatic selection due to his participation at the actual World Cup Finals.  He did not play a match in South Africa.  That season, he was the winner of Ricardo Zamora Trophy in Spain.
-- I did not have many choices for backup goalkeepers.  Jordi Codina was on the roster of Catalonia's friendly match against Argentina in December, 2010.  He got the nod for the second goalkeeper.  He just finished his first season with Getafe after joining them from Real Madrid.  In Getafe, he alternated with Argentine Oscar Ustari.  
-- The third goalkeeper was between Kiko Casilla, Albert Jorquera and Francesc Arnau.  I found no other goalkeeper of note from Catalona.  Arnau was a third choice in Malaga during the 2009-2010 season while Casilla was on loan to Cadiz in Segunda División.  Albert Jorquera was the starter with Girona in the Segunda División.  So I took Casilla.  He would be capped by Vicente Del Bosque in 2014 and his career would be the best among the players in question.  He also played against Honduras in December, 2010 during the Trofeu Catalunya Internacional.  Both Codina and Arnau were not available for the match against Honduras, but Casilla was highly rated at the time.
Kiko Casilla
-- Both Kiko Casilla and Jordi Codina were with Real Madrid at the same time, but never on the first team together.  They were at least together on the B team for the 2005-2006 season.  
-- Hugo Lloris was the starting goalkeeper for France in the 2010 World Cup Finals.  He was La Ligue Goalkeeper of the Year in the 2009-2010 season.  Even though he is also of Catalan descent, I doubt that he would switch to Catalonia. 
-- Spain only conceded 2 goals in the entire tournament.  None of the two came during the knockout stage.  And three of Spain's starting back four were Catalan.  They were Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Joan Capdevila.
-- Bruno Saltor was the only likely candidate at rightback.  
Sergio Sánchez would have made the team, but in January 2010, Sevilla's medical team detected some cardiac pathology in his heart.  He would spend a year out of football which would keep him from South Africa 2010.  Curro Torres retired at the end of the 2009-2010 season.  He played no minute for Gimnàstic de Tarragona in the Segunda División that season.  Martin Montoya was with Barcelona B team.  He had not even played for Spain's Under 21 team in 2010.  Gabri was a midfielder, but also played as a rightback.  He had a poor season that year.  He went to play in Qatar at the end of the season.  I left him off the team. Javi Chica who played both sides of the fullback positions for Espanyol was out injured until June, 2010.  He could not make it in time. Without much choices, I took Damià Abella who was playing in the second division with Real Betis, but he represented Catalonia around that time.
-- Joan Capdevila was one of the most used players for Spain under Vicente Del Bosque. He was one of the based players.  Fernando Navarro and Jordi Alba were the serious candidates for the backup position.  Catalonia also had Marc Muniesa who played on Barcelona B team. I also looked into Alberto de la Bella and David Garcia.  
-- Fernando Navarro would turn 28 during the World Cup Finals.  In real life, he was a part of Euro 2008 winning team. He was the heart and soul of his club team Sevilla. Jordi Alba was only 21 years old.  He was playing in the lower division in the 2008-2009 season.  Then, he represented Spain at the Under-20 World Cup Finals in the September of 2019.  In the 2009-2010, he started to become Valencia's starter around March, 2010 after Jérémy Mathieu suffered an injury. In real life, he was the heir apparent for Joan Capdevila on the Spanish national team, and he would be the same for this Catalan team.  He would become one of the best leftbacks in the world, but he was only a prospect in 2010 while Navarro was one of the best in La Liga.  So I went with the more seasoned Navarro.
-- Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol were formable defensive pairing in the center.  Finding two other backup bcentral defenders was difficult.  Daniel Jarque passed away in August, 2009.  He just took away the captaincy from Raul Tamudo in Espanyol not so long before that.  I would have selected him if he was alive.
Pique and Puyol
-- Catalonia had several young central defenders coming up around the period, but they did not seem to be ready in 2010.  In the 2009-2010 season, Marc Batra played mainly for Barcelona B team, but he made his first team debut in February of 2010.  In real life, he would remain on the B team until 2012.  Sergi Roberto had even not played for Barcelona B team until late in 2010. I also looked into Víctor Ruiz,  Raul Rodriguez, Andreu Fontàs and Sergio Juste.  Victor Ruiz did play against Honduras in December, 2010, but he only made his professional first team debut in December, 2009.  I also studied David Belenguer who would play one more season after the summer of 2010.  He was mainly a backup at Getafe for the 2009-2010 season.
 -- For the 2009-2010, Oleguer Presas was a backup to Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at Ajax Amsterdam, but he had over 120 matches for Barcelona under his belt between 2003 and 2008.  I took him because he was more famous than the other choices. Albert Lopo was an undisputed starter for Deportivo la Coruña. They were probably one of the few Catalan central defenders of note around this time.  Victor Sanchez  whom I selected as a midfielder could also play central defender and rightback.
-- This section of the field remained strong with Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas.  They were my based players.  
-- Gerard Lopez was another big names still active in 2010.  However, the prime of his career happened 10 years before in 2000 during his stint with Valencia.  Injuries had kept him from being a star player.  In 2010. he belonged to Girona in the Segunda Division, but he seldom played.  He would later manage Catalonia national team between 2013 and 2016.
-- Oriol Romeu was still with Barcelona B team.  He represented Spain at the Under 19 level in 2010.  Gabri was at the end of his career in top flight football.  He did played much that year.  Javi Márquez was injured between March and December of 2010, which I had to leave him off this team.  So I went with Moisés Hurtado.  He scored one of the goals that helped Catalonia to beat Argentina in 2009. Víctor Sánchez was on loan to Xerez CD from Barcelona FC  playing in La Liga that season.  He was at least playing in the top division in Spain.  So I had to take him alongside Sergio Busquets.  Busquets was the unsung hero of the 2010 World Cup campaign.  He was named on the World Cup All-Star team.
Sergio Busquets
-- I considered dropping Victor Sanchez for Jordi Alba.  Both were very young player, but I probably need an extra midfielder more than a third leftback.  In 2010, I could not predict that Alba would become one of the greatest Catalan leftbacks. So I went with the team's needs rather than things I could not foresee in 2010.
-- Sergio Soriano had always been a regular member of Catalonia national team.  He was 33 years old at the time of the 2010 World Cup Finals.  He had been a solid player for Deportivo La Coruna for a decade.  AM Joan Verdu just moved back to Espanyol in the summer of 2009.  He had been a regular member of Catalonia national team.  Of course, I already had Xavi and Cesc Fabregas.  
-- Albert Crusat of UD Almería had a great season.  As far as I know, he never played for Catalonia, but he was born in Barcelona.  He was the only player I discovered not from the national team.  He was a left winger.  Óscar Serrano was injured between April and December, 2010.  He had to miss the World Cup Finals. So Crusat became an important player on the left.
-- Cesc Fàbregas was the captain of Arsenal in the Premiership.  He was named to the PFA Team of the Year for the 2009-2010 season.  He had 19 goals that season.  It was his highest goal output in a season ever.  As comparison, he only scored 22 goals in his five seasons with Chelsea.
-- The forward position was very weak.  I badly needed to recruit Lionel Messi.  He would be a "game changer" for this team, but I remained certain that he won't abandon Argentina for Catalonia.
-- By 2010, Bojan Krkić had played 3 seasons in La Liga.  Furthermore, he was an important player for the Catalan regional team in this period. For the perspective in 2010, he was highly rated in Spain.  No one would predict that he failed to live up to expectation in a few years' time.
-- I had limited choice so I had to take CF/RW/LW: Sergio García.  In 2010, Sergio Garcia was playing in Segunda Division with Real Betis, but he had been a fixture with Catalonia between 2003 and 2016.  He was their most capped ever player.  
Sergio Garcia
--  In 2011, Álvaro Vázquez won the Silver Show at the Under-20 World Cup.  But in 2010 he had not made his professional debut with Espanyol's first team., I decided not to take him even through he did represent Catalonia in a friendly match against Honduras in December, 2010. Oriol Riera only played 5 official matches in Segunda Division that season.  Cristian Tello was on Espanyol B team in 2010.  Jordi Tarrés left for Kitchee in Hong Kong after the 2009-2010 season. Rafa Jordà did not enjoy his season.  He moved from Hercules to Levante during the winter transfer window.
-- Albert Luque's stock had fallen since he moved to Newcastle United in 2005.  He was a seldom used player in Malaga that season. I took him out of consideration.  He was 32 years old.
-- The last two spots were between Raul Tamudo, Ferran Corominas "Coro", Jonathan Soriano and Piti.
-- Raul Tamudo only played 6 league games for Espanyol in the 2009-2010 season.  He struggled with some injuries and he also had a row with Espanyol's manager Mauricio Pochettino.  He left the club at the end of the season.  Coro was a teammate of Raul Tamudo.  He only scored a single goal, but appeared 23 times (starting 11 times). Jonathan Soriano joined Barcelona B team in the summer of 2009.   He scored 18 goals for them, but it was in the third tier.  He also played against Argentina and Honduras for Catalonia. He was 24 years old at the time of South Africa 2010. Piti was playing in the Segunda División with Rayo Vallecano. He had 8 goals.
-- Finally, I decided to gamble with Raul Tamudo. His experience would be valuable to the team.  I considered him one of Catalonia's greatest players and I wanted to honor him with a spot.  Then, I went with Coro because Piti had no experience playing in the top division at that point. Coro also played regularly for Catalonia, which was the main reason I chose him over Piti.