Spaniards celebrate World Cup final spot
People blasted their car horns across Spain and set off
firecrackers to celebrate the national football team’s 1-0
semifinal win Wednesday over Germany that saw it through to its
first ever World Cup final.
An exhilarating roar of delight rose from the capital Madrid as
the final whistle blew for the match in South Africa.
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 exploded in joy, jumping and screaming and hugging each
other and before beginning to swarm down the city’s main Paseo de
la Castellana boulevard 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.
Dozens of cars honked their horns as they drove through the
city’s main streets.
Similar scenes were reported in cities such as northeastern
Barcelona and southwestern Cadiz.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he watched the
game nervously with his daughters and their friends.
“They played with intelligence, elegance, as a team and with
passion,” he told Cadena SER radio. “It’s an immensely happy
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, had
never before reached the World Cup semifinals.
“It was incredible. This time it’s going to be ‘Yes,”’ said
Federico Toca, 19, adding it was about time Spain claimed the World
Marta Medina, 18, waving a Spanish flag, said “(Carles) Puyol
is the greatest,” in reference to the defender who scored the goal
from a header deep into the second half.
“It’s time to go after them,” she added, referring to the
Dutch side Spain meets in the final Sunday.
Groups of young people walked by singing “I am Spanish,” a
jingle that has been associated with the team this World Cup.
Others hung our of car windows screaming “Let’s get them,” and
“We can do it,” the national 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 national red and yellow 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