As any manager will tell you, it can be very reassuring to have a reliable goalscorer sitting on the bench, ready to come on and change the course of a game at a moment's notice. Spain coach Juan Santisteban is fortunate in having one such player among his replacements. Supersub Jordi has made two goalscoring appearances at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007, the second of them instrumental in a close-run victory against France.
It was in Spain's opening group game that the Villarreal youngster first showed his worth. With his side being held 1-1 by Honduras, Jordi came on just after the restart in an effort to break the deadlock. Within six minutes the switch had paid off, the No19 latching onto a fumble by the Honduran keeper to put Spain ahead. He was not finished there, though. With the Catrachos trailing 2-3 in the closing moments and pressing hard, up he popped to slot home Bojan's cross and secure the points for the Iberians.
The French certainly had advance warning then when the talisman came on just before the hour mark in Saturday's quarter-final in Jeju. Even so, they were powerless to prevent him from ghosting in at the far post to slide in an equaliser from a pinpoint Iago centre on 72 minutes. "Me, a goalscorer? No way," he tells FIFA.com with a broad grin. "I've been lucky enough to come on and score and for the team to win. But that's not really what I'm about. If I set up a goal, it's a lot for me."
A home-grown Villarreal youth product, Jordi can usually be found ploughing the flanks although he has filled in as a deep-lying striker before. "I'll play anywhere just to get a game," he admits. "It can be very frustrating if you're not playing, because you just want to play from the start and give it your all. We're all in the same position, though. There's a lot of quality in this squad and the bench is proof of that."
A doubt for the Ghana clash
Spain's latest hero experienced the pleasure and the pain against France, scoring a vital goal and then picking up an untimely injury that threatens to keep him out of the semi-final against Ghana altogether. "I went to cross the ball but I kicked the turf instead," he explains, showing his bandaged ankle. "It hurts, but I want to make the semis and, hopefully, the Final too. It would be a huge disappointment not to play."
When it comes to assessing Wednesday's opponents, the youngster is very clear about what Spain need to do. "Possession is vital to us. France kept the ball from us and we struggle when we don't have it. It's going to be very hard because Ghana aren't like other African sides who are physically very strong but lack a little technique. They've got both things."
As Jordi acknowledges ahead of the Ulsan showdown, Spain need to heed the warning signs that flashed when France striker Vincent Acapandie, with the very last kick of the quarter-final, somehow spooned the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy. "We have to be on our guard against counter-attacks because they are very quick and we nearly got caught out against France. I still can't believe that last chance. I could see myself back in Spain already, and then the guy went and put it over the bar."
With the evening meal approaching fast, there is just time for one last question. And after pausing for a moment, Jordi fires back the answer in his own inimitable style. "It won't be easy to win the title, but we've definitely got the team to do it."