Muted media interest masks Iberian team's quiet optimism
View from Spain
Thursday 02 December 2010
From the three-quarters empty Estadio da Luz in Lisbon for the Portugal v Spain friendly two weeks ago to the minimal air-time and column inches in yesterday's media, the Spanish remain fairly underwhelmed by their country's bid to co-host the 2018 World Cup finals.
The muted interest in today's vote, however, does not reflect pessimism over the Spain-Portugal bid's chances. Most Spaniards believe their country can host the tournament in eight years' time. It is the proposal with the most stadiums, 21, and the one that will have to spend the least amount of money to build or update its grounds.
The spectacular variety of the Iberian peninsula will be the biggest selling point of today's presentation in Zurich, coupled with the ease at which, courtesy of high-speed rail links, supporters would be able to travel.
However, there is a simmering sense that Portugal has let Spain down somewhat. First with that crowd of under 25,000 for the friendly between the two countries in Lisbon, and now with the absence in Switzerland today of its two biggest sporting celebrities, Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, who is listed as a bid ambassador but has played a low-key role in the campaign, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who is receiving treatment for an ankle injury picked up in Real's 5-0 defeat to Barcelona on Monday.
Spain could have gone it alone, avoiding Fifa's reservations about joint bids, but Portugal are with them for two reasons. It was their idea in 2008 to push for the tournament and once Spain recognised the potential handicap of having staged the tournament as recently as 1982, linking up with a country that has never hosted a finals seemed a good idea. This afternoon, with Portuguese legend Eusebio in attendance, they will findout whether it was.
Latest in Sport
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Manchester United goalkeeper spotted arriving at Madrid airport
Angel Di Maria to Bayern Munich: Manchester United to make £24m loss as club want '£35m' for Argentina flop
Wimbledon 2015: Dustin Brown knocks Rafael Nadal out of the championship
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a 'minute of bulls**t'
- 4 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 5 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives