Spaniards celebrate World Cup final spot
Even the prime minister couldn’t calm his nerves while watching
Spain’s 1-0 victory over Germany in the World Cup semifinals.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he watched
Wednesday’s game anxiously with his daughters and their friends. In
the end, he was as thrilled as the thousands of people celebrating
in the streets all across the nation.
“They played with intelligence, elegance, as a team and with
passion,” he told Cadena SER radio. “It’s an immensely happy
People blasted car horns across Spain and set off firecrackers
as La Roja advanced to their first World Cup final.
An exhilarating roar of delight rose from the streets of the
capital city as the final whistle blew for the match in Durban,
Thousands of people, many wearing the Spanish team jersey,
gathered to watch the match on a giant outdoor screen beside Real
Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the city center. They
joyfully cheered, jumping and screaming and hugging each other
before swarming down the city’s main Paseo de la Castellana waving
flags and interrupting traffic.
As the cacophonous celebration spread, people sprayed each other
with beer, water and any drink they happened to have handy.
Chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole” rang out everywhere as people
appeared on their apartment balconies waving Spanish flags.
Fireworks could be heard exploding across the city.
Similar scenes were reported in cities such as northeastern
Barcelona and southwestern Cadiz.
The celebrations brought back memories of when Spain defeated
Germany to win the 2008 European Championship in Vienna, ending a
44-year drought between major titles.
But the team, long labeled the perennial underachiever, never
before reached the World Cup final.
“It was incredible. This time it’s going to be ‘Yes,”’ said
19-year-old Federico Toca, adding it was about time Spain claimed
the World Cup.
Marta Medina, 18, waving a Spanish flag, said “(Carles) Puyol
is the greatest,” in reference to the defender who scored the goal
on a header deep into the second half.
“It’s time to go after them,” she added, referring to the
Dutch team Spain will meet in the final on Sunday.
Groups of young people walked by singing “I am Spanish,” a
jingle that has been associated with the team for this World Cup.
Others hung out car windows screaming “Let’s get them,” and “We
can do it,” the national soccer team’s two war cries in recent
Nearly two hours after the match, Madrid’s emblematic squares of
Colon, Cibeles, Puerta del Sol and Plaza de Espana were jammed with
cars and people waving the red and yellow national flag, some using
it as a skirt, others as capes.
“After the (1939-78) dictatorship, people were almost ashamed
of the flag,” said 52-year-old Francisco Gimeno. “It looks like
we have got over that complex.”
Associated Press writer Ciaran Giles contributed to this