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Pau Gasol saddened by Spain's World Cup loss to Switzerland

June 17, 2010 |  6:31 am


Lakers forward Pau Gasol woke up and immediately turned on his television. He had felt well rested, a routine he's ensured to maintain his energy during the Lakers' title run. And now he was ready to watch his native Spain play Switzerland in the World Cup, another activity that helps pass the time.

Soon enough, Switzerland got off to an early lead and eventually ran off with a 1-0 upset over Spain, making Spain the sixth of the last eight reigning European champions to lose the opening game at the World Cup. The fact Spain dominated possession throughout the game while failing to score made it more difficult for Gasol to accept.

"The next thing I know we were down 1-0 and struggling and scrambling to score a goal," said Gasol, whose native team was deemed one of the pre-tournament favorites. "It happens. Soccer is an interesting sport, and it's unfortunate that we started that way, but still got a long ways to go."

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, also a devoted soccer fan, decided to put off watching games until the Finals end, saying, "I haven't watched any yet." But Gasol views the World Cup matches as one of the ways to ease his Finals anxieties. Some of the other methods include going for walks, reading and avoiding outside contact.

"Everybody is so excited at this point in time, you still want to keep your mind 100% into it," Gasol said. "We are understanding how hard it's going to be [in Game 7] and how physical and demanding it will continue to be. It's something that I try to do just for me to be ready."

--Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers center Pau Gasol scores on a layup over Celtics guard Rajon Rondo during the second quarter in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.