Spain's Euro 2012 success an 'oasis' amid economic woes says captain Iker Casillas

 

Spain's run to the Euro 2012 final has been an "oasis" for people back home who are suffering because of the financial crisis, according to captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

The holders clinched a place in Sunday's title decider against Germany or Italy in part thanks to a Casillas save in the 4-2 penalty shootout win over Portugal on Wednesday and he said Spaniards should enjoy the moment while it lasts.

"It's strange what happens in life sometimes," the 31-year-old known as "Saint Iker" told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

"However badly things are going for the country in terms of the crisis and all that, football has been a kind of oasis that has allowed people to forget everything a little bit," he added.

Spain has suffered from soaring borrowing costs amidst a debt crisis and economic downturn that has hit much of Europe.

"Football has been a source of joy and we are happy and excited about that and we want people to make the most of it as it will be difficult to repeat," added Casillas.

By seeing off the Portuguese, Spain join the West Germany team of the 1970s as the only sides to reach three successive finals at European championships and world cups.

They can eclipse the Germans - who won the 1972 European Championship and 1974 World Cup but lost the 1976 Euro final to Czechoslovakia - with victory in Kiev.

They would then become the first nation to win back-to-back continental titles with a World Cup in between.

Casillas missed out on a personal milestone on Wednesday as he remains one short of becoming the first player to notch up 100 victories in internationals.

His 136th appearance will go on record as a draw after the Iberian neighbours were locked at 0-0 after 120 minutes and needed spot kicks to separate them.

Casillas said he remembered the excitement he felt when Spain won soccer gold at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 when he was 11 years old.

"These have been four exceptional years and the kids back home don't realise how lucky they are to be able to experience this," he said.

"I remember winning the gold in '92 and that was incredible so imagine what they are feeling now."

A Spanish triumph on Sunday would make Vicente del Bosque the first coach to win a treble of World Cup, European Championship and Champions League, Europe's elite club competition.

He led Spain to their first World Cup triumph in South Africa two years ago and took Real Madrid to the Champions League title in 2000 and 2002.

In typically modest fashion, Del Bosque said it was all down to the players.

"I think this is an extraordinary group and despite the long season we have behind us they are playing with great generosity and great effort," he told Cadena Ser. "Such good players make any coach look good."

Germany play Italy in Thursday's second semi-final in Warsaw.

 

Reuters

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial