From sea to shining sea: FC Barcelona players in Boston

From sea to shining sea: FC Barcelona players in Boston

Part four of a series examining the links between the Catalan club and American cities hosting matches at this summer’s Copa América Centenario takes us to New England

Among the major American cities with a rich soccer tradition one would have no choice but to include Boston, Massachusetts and the surrounding region.

Gillette Stadium, located in Foxborough, was another one of the lucky sites to host a match in this summer’s Copa América Centenario, when Chile beat Bolivia, 2–1, in Group D play. FC Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, the Chile captain, played all 90 minutes.

The fans in Foxborough also saw Brazil get knocked out in a 1–0 loss to Peru in a Group B game that featured an outgoing Barça player, DaniAlves, who recently announced he was moving on after eight seasons under the lights at Camp Nou.

Gillette Stadium was also selected for a knockout stage match. LionelMessi and Argentina beat Venezuela there, 4–1, in the quarterfinals on June 18, setting them up for a clash with the United States in the semifinals.

Infamy at the World Cup

Like Chicago, Boston was chosen as one of the host cities in the ’94 World Cup. Back then, however, the matches were played at Foxborough Stadium — Gillette Stadium’s precursor — which was torn down in 2002.

Foxborough Stadium hosted four group stage games at that year’s tournament, as well as a Round of 16 match, and a quarterfinal match.

The latter of these, which was played on July 9, 1994, was a blockbuster thriller showcasing European giants Italy and Spain.

The Spain squad had eight Barça players in the starting lineup versus Italy, with Luis Enrique taking PepGuardiola’s place. Midfielders José Mari Bakero and Miguel Ángel Nadal were the other changes from the XI that started in the Bolivia match in Chicago.

Italy won, 2–1, in a match that would go down in infamy. In the waning moments, with Spain threatening to draw level, a Goikoetxea cross into the Italy penalty area fell by the wayside when defender Mauro Tassotti threw an elbow that broke Luis Enrique’s nose, leaving the FC Barcelona midfielder gushing with blood. Although the foul should have resulted in a spot kick — and a red card that would have left Italy with ten men heading into a potential 30 minutes of extra time — the referee made no call on the play.

Shortly after, time expired, and the Barça-laden Spanish national team was sent packing.

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