Spanish celebrations: 'They've done more for us than all our politicians'

Fiesta. Fiesta in the packed, smoky pubs. Fiesta with family in the homes. Fiesta on the sweltering streets.

Fiesta was the operative word throughout Spain last night as thousands celebrated victory over the Netherlands – the first World Cup win in 90 years. Car horns blared. Trumpets sounded. Crowds back-slapped, jumped and screamed as Andres Iniesta delivered the winning goal.

"World champions!" shouted 16-year-old José Angel Salto García, wrapped from head to toe in red-and-gold Spanish flags, as he darted from a pub into the street, stopping traffic.

"All of Spain is going to get drunk!" screamed his face-painted friend, Lidia Marco Pereira, amid a round of hugs.

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards poured on to the streets to watch the historic win against the Netherlands on giant screens in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities, and the party continues today with a welcome-home celebration in Madrid.

"This is history!" shouted 22-year-old Luis Criado, an unemployed ceramic maker, kissing the Spanish insignia on his shirt. He had travelled for four hours by bus from Jaen to watch the match on the Madrid streets. His friend kneeled to the ground, as though in prayer. "This is the greatest," he said.

The crowds agonised with each missed opportunity for goal. They alternatively cursed and cheered the referee. They guzzled beer and wine, and chain smoked as the goalless game churned on. "It was exciting, but agonising waiting 120 minutes to score a goal," said 24-year-old José Luis Sanz Mardomingo, who wore his bathing suit in preparation for a victory dip in a fountain near his home outside Madrid.

But Spain's victory was more than sporting milestone. It was also a much-needed morale boost to a country where 20 per cent of the population is unemployed and a housing bubble has burst.

Electrician Raul Bernal and his friends blew horns and waved Spanish flags waiting for the World Cup Final to be shown on giant screen in Madrid's Paseo de Recoletos. They have all spent several months on the dole this year, but yesterday, they were in a party mood.

"We've forgotten about the crisis these days, everyone has their mind on sports," he said as passing cars honked victory toots and the thermometer hit 34C. "All that matters now is the game."

Even those lukewarm about football were caught up in the "Red Spirit".

"It's free happiness, you don't have to pay anyone for it," said Isabel De Mingo, a 30-year-old civil servant whose salary was cut by 5 per cent because of the austerity plan. "My mother never liked football, but she wouldn't even go to her home town for the weekend because she wanted to watch the game in Madrid where there's a party atmosphere."

The final match was also a rare moment of national unity despite strong movements for Basque and Catalonian regional autonomy. "I've never seen so many Spanish flags waving in Catalonia," said Rosa Gil, a 47-year-old radio presenter from Barcelona. "In tough moments, it's all for one, the Red Spirit."

She suggested that Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero learn a lesson from Spain's manager Vicente del Bosque. "He's done more for Spain than all the politicians put together," she said. "Del Bosque for prime minister!"

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital