Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Spanish Pride

Sunday night was a big night for the country of Spain. In the EuroCopa 2008 (fútbol tournament that takes place every 4 years), they defeated Italy in penalty kicks to advance to the semi-finals. I've been following the EuroCopa every night (not that I have any other entertainment options out here) and have been routing for Spain throughout the tournament. But for Spaniards, this win is especially sweet since they've had a long history of collapsing in the quarterfinals, and in soccer, Italy is a perennial powerhouse and are the defending World Cup Champions.
Cesc Fabregas celebrates after scoring the winning goal in penalty kicks
But what was more interesting for me was witnessing the game with a friend of mine in a small bar in Piedralaves. It's interesting to see how people from a small Spanish pueblo react while watching the game. For one thing, there were a lot of exaggerated hand and body gestures when the call didn't go there way (I'm guilty of this as well....quite fluent actually), and of the 25 people in the bar, only 3 were female, yet they were the most vocal and expressive of the bunch. They also looked like they were missing a few teeth and could easily kick my ass. There was one old, smelly guy who was supposedly the millionaire of the town who was in love with my friend. He tried to woo her by saying sweet little nothings, but since she doesn't speak any Spanish, his pick-up lines were wasted. I understood most of what he said, but he wasn't my type.
Iker Casillas making a save during an Italian penalty kick
The guy standing next to me kept praying and kissing his necklace. I thought it was a cross he was kissing since catholicism dominates here, but it was actually the coat of arms of Spain as his pendant. He was so used to Spain self-destructing that during the penalty kicks, he couldn't bear to watch the TV. But everytime Spain scored, he gave me big high fives, then started kissing his necklace again and praying. When Cesc Fabregas scored the final goal, he gave me such a big hug, that his perfume of eau de countryside farmshit transferred onto my clothes. But it was all good. Everyone left the bar happy, and it's always a highlight to be in a country when their national team does well. Especially watching it in a small town where everyone knows each other. So next up is Russia on Thursday, and if they win that, it's off to the finals on Sunday. Podemos! (We can! is the slogan that the TV channel broadcasting the EuroCopa came up with). Just for the record, they've been saying Podemos! throughout their broadcasts with annoying frequency. The only correlation I can think of is when people in the Bay Area say hella. Me molesta la palabra hella.

Puede! (He can!), Dónde está Che Pelotas?

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At 5:24 AM, Blogger alex said...

They should have put Fabregas in from the beginning.
Great match, despite the penalty kicks, which is based more on luck. But the spaniards deserved it.
the biggest shocker, of course, was holland losing to the russians.
and the germans, holy shit. if they keep on playing like they did against portugal, it's gonna be tough to beat them.

At 1:34 AM, Blogger ::rentastic:: said...

no no you silly foreigner. having villa and torres up front at the start is good for the attack. and barça players iniesta and xavi is good for ball control in the middle. bringing in fabregas and cazorla is good later in the game to bring energy. and yes, i can´t believe russia won. i thought holland was the favorite to win it all the way they played in the first round.
and it wasn´t that germany played so great as much as portugal didn´t play up to their potential.
viva españa!


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