We have to say that we are all walking about in a bit of a trance at the moment. Have Spain really made it to the World Cup final, or is this just a dream? True, Spain has many World champions in other sports, basketball, cycling, Rafa Nadal winning Wimbledon twice, we have won many youth international tournaments in football, and we are the reigning European champions at senior level after beating Germany two years ago. But this is the World Cup, and in all our other participations we have never made it past the quarter finals.
Everybody in Spain (except my grandma, who doesn’t like football) is supporting “la Roja” right now, and there are even a few timid Spanish flags hanging from balconies in my native Barcelona, something which at other times would not be tolerated by the more radical Catalan nationalists. But hey, why not, there were no less than seven Barcelona players in the semi-final line-up, and all the goals so far have been scored by Barça players. We are all in this together!
But are we really favourites to win? According to the Spanish press yes, all the world has been impressed by our flowing football which our players learn at a young age in our youth teams, but then Franz Beckenbauer said that we pass a lot but sometimes forget to score! Up to now though most of the sides we have played against have followed the Swiss, with eight or nine players in defence and hoping to score on the counter-attack, and we have only won the last four games by a single goal. We don’t think that Van Marwijk will do that though, his style of play is similar to Spain’s, and if we are allowed to play our normal game we should be unbeatable. Still though, Holland will have a lot of local support, and several of their players (Sneijder, Robben, Van Bommel, Huntelaar etc.) have thorns in their sides and chips on their shoulders (must hurt!) after failing to make an impression in “La Liga”.
We do have one thing going for us though, Paul the famous German octopus has predicted today that Spain will win. One of our favourite meals in Spain is “pulpo con patatas”, but if Paul gets it right the octopus will be declared a sacred animal, and the dish will be struck off our menus! Let’s hope he has picked the winner just one last time, if not for the future of Spanish football at least for the future of Spain’s cephalopods!