Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has shared his opinion on Spain’s impressive EURO 2024 campaign that will see them go head-to-head with England in the final on Sunday, 14 June.

La Roja has been one of the best-performing teams in the Euros recording decisive victories in all their matches including a 2-1 win against tournament hosts Germany in the quarterfinals which was then followed by another 2-1 victory against the 2018 FIFA World Cup winners France to book their spot in the final.

“I’ve never seen him so excited, the dinner had to be stopped and we all had to watch. I don’t think he ate last night, I’m not sure, he ate the win,” said Assistant Coach Mandla Ncikazi reflecting on Riveiro’s excitement following Spain’s win in the semi-finals.

The Spanish-born coach has an impressive record when it comes to finals, he has led the Soweto giants to back-to-back MTN8 and Nedbank Cup finals and went on to lift those trophies. He also led the All-Star PSL team to a 2-0 win against Carling Knockout Cup winners Stellenbosch FC.

When asked by Thomas Mlambo of SuperSport Bet if the Spanish side should be backed in the final to lift the trophy, he said the final is about who is the best on the day adding that his home side has the talent and the correct mentality to be the better team on the day.

“Absolutely. It’s not good to speak about who is the favourite or who is not. It’s a final. We have some experience in finals as well, together, and it’s going to be about who is the best one on the day. They can manage those emotions of a special day, but I think the guys are showing that they have the talent and the right mindset to do something right in this tournament,” said the 48-year-old coach.

The Buccaneers are currently on a preseason camp in Spain and will play English Championship side Plymouth Argyle on 12 July followed by La Liga giants Sevilla on 15 July. They will close the tour off on 19 July by squaring off against Al Sadd SC of the Qatar Stars League.

Pirates had an impressive 2023/24 season which saw them lift the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup trophies back-to-back. They finished second on the log with 50 points and booked a spot in the next edition of the CAF Champions League. We look to see if the camp can improve their performance in the upcoming season.

Written by Siphesihle Soni