The Spanish media went into overdrive on Monday in their praise of the country’s World Cup heroes.
Spain won their first World Cup on Sunday by beating the Netherlands 1-0 in an ill-tempered final in Johannesburg.
Practically every Spanish newspaper produced a special commemorative issue on Monday in celebration of the “historic” achievement.
Madrid sports daily Marca praises a “Golden Generation” that “learned how to win in 2008 (winning the European Championship) and is now the best team in the world.” Marca added that “we have had to wait far too long for this triumph.”
Marca was very critical of the Dutch team for their “brutal, intimidatory tactics,” and of referee Howard Webb for not being “more rigorous with them.”
Rival daily AS, for its part, said that “Spanish football is great because it has profound and extensive roots, that have been growing for more than a hundred years...and now they are finally flowering.” AS, the same as every other paper, carried details of the all-night celebrations, which took place in every Spanish city and town, and concluded that “football does not give solutions (to the economic crisis) but it does give joy. And in these times, that is very important.”
Following a similar theme, Madrid radio station Cadena COPE said on Monday that “this triumph will make the Spanish people feel a little more satisfied and less troubled for a while, though it will not resolve the country’s crisis.”
Cadena SER, meanwhile, suggested that “people were desperate to celebrate something after two horrible years of unemployment, crisis and problems.”
The newspapers in Catalonia are just as fulsome in their praise of La Roja as their Madrid counterparts. Indeed, the celebrations in Barcelona were just as euphoric as those in Madrid, partly because there were seven Barca players in the Spain starting line-up.
Mundo Deportivo praised Vicente del Bosque’s team for “not rising to the provocation” and for “keeping to their passing game with patience and serenity.” The players singled out for special praise by the media are playmaker Xavi, goalscorer Andres Iniesta and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Casillas is featured heavily in most papers because of a curious incident with journalist Sara Carbonero, who has been his girlfriend for almost a year — although they were both reluctant to make this public.
Carbonero was interviewing Casillas after the match, trying to maintain formality and distance, when the goalkeeper broke down and kissed her, to her surprise and embarrassment.
The picture of the kiss was carried by almost every paper on Monday, together with Casilla’s statement that “I dedicate this to my girlfriend, she has suffered a lot recently.” Someone else singled out for special praise was manager Del Bosque.
According to Sport on Monday, he “maintained his system and values throughout the tournament, despite the criticism he took at the beginning” (Spain started out with a 1-0 defeat against Switzerland.”
El Pais, for its part, praised Del Bosque’s “ability to form a strong group, and his serenity in the face of adversity.”
Keywords: 2010 FIFA World Cup