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Two years ago, in Zagreb, Jorge Maqueda's absence was noticed on the track, because of his courage, but, above all, it was noticed in the celebration. Spain had won its first European and the party was rare. The veterans, exhausted after the final, surrendered to the sofas and the youth, without a leader, did not know very well what to do. «Champions, champions», four boats and that's it. The early morning of this Monday in Stockholm, after lifting the second consecutive European, was very different. Maqueda was responsible for raising the spirits, coordinating dances and songs with his friends from the town -Quero, in Toledo- and telling jokes to those who decayed. At midnight there was no voice left and he came to dust in the reception in Barajas in the afternoon. But the effort had been worth it. Who knows when Spain will be able to celebrate a title again, maybe in six months, maybe it takes decades.
That was one of the reasons for success in Stockholm: the desire to live a beautiful end, the need for one last chance, the qualification for the Tokyo Games. After the Olympic event, six players left the national team and everyone else knows that, due to its importance, it will take a long time to regain the joy. Those who are already preparing the farewell are the three centrals, Raúl Entrerríos, Joan Cañellas and Dani Sarmiento , the starting pivot, Julen Aguinagalde , and the two defensive specialists, Viran Morros and Gideon Guardiola , although some are clearer than others. Entrerríos, for example, has already reported his goodbye and this summer he will leave the track to enter the technical organization chart of Barça. Guardiola, Morros and Aguinagalde have already made the decision, but have not yet made it official. And the remaining two, Cañellas and Sarmiento, are the hope that the Spanish Federation holds in search of a kinder generational change. Both could go on for a year, until the 2021 World Cup in Egypt, or even two, until the European Hungarian and Slovakia 2022, to help young people who will come without experience.
Because that is the great challenge. All the actors, from the players to the leaders, admit that they will not return a streak like the current one with a World Cup and two Europeans in seven years, but they want to avoid the disruption, that going to the selection is an ordeal. That is why it is hoped that Álex Dujshebaev will become the leader, changing to the central position, in which thirty-year-olds like Maqueda, Eduardo Gurbindo or Adrià Figueras endure until the Games of Paris 2024 and that those who arrive increase their level with the matches. The excellence will remain in the goal, with Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas and Rodrigo Corrales , and in the extremes, with infinite options, and if two or three frontline players adapt to the rhythm of the selection, they can continue competing. Dani Dujshebaev , who was already summoned for this European, or other young people like Alex Costoya or David Fernández, is trusted in that role.
«The farewell is close, that is clear, but there will be relief. The lower teams have won tournaments and players will grow up, ”said Dani Sarmiento, who studies the option of following a short period after Tokyo to deliver the witness. "I have not decided yet. I will listen to my body and it will depend on what the coach decides, of course, ”he commented. And, indeed, coach Jordi Ribera will be a key piece in the process that Spain must live as soon as he returns from Tokyo. In fact, for that he was signed in 2016. With his experience in the selection of Brazil, where he took out a very young set capable of reaching the quarterfinals in Rio, he was expected to start the relay just upon arrival, but took another decision. Before the will to continue Entrerríos, Cañellas and company, they were entrusted to them in the tournaments, as in the last Europeans, and was testing the friendlies. The result of those experiments was irregular, but they were just that, experiments. After the Tokyo Games, when the middle team retires, the moment of truth will come.
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