Madrid: The Spanish media was euphoric over coach Vicente Del Bosque’s team Thursday after they reached a first World Cup final, outplaying Germany 1-0.
The impressive win was front-page news in every Spanish newspaper Thursday, with the headlines expressing admiration for the way that La Roja dominated the semi-final in Durban Thursday from start to finish.
The headline in sports daily Marca was ‘The Best In The World’ followed by ‘Millions Of Spaniards Celebrated the Victory In The Streets.’
Marca carried many photographs of the celebrations that erupted throughout Spain.
The headline in Catalan daily Sport was ‘A Goal From Puyol...And Into The Final!’
Barcelona captain Carles Puyol scored the only goal in Durban. This Spain team has a very strong Barcelona flavour - no less than seven of Wednesday’s starters were Barca players - and this has lead to many Catalans identifying with La Roja for the first time.
There were noisy celebrations in Barcelona’s famous Ramblas on Wednesday, a place where the Spanish flag has not been particularly welcome or visible until this week.
Radio Rambla commented on Thursday that ‘this is really the first time that the Spanish national team has been popular in Catalonia.’
Mundo Deportivo, another Catalan sports daily, praised Del Bosque for fielding Barcelona winger Pedro instead of mis-firing Liverpool forward Fernando Torres.
This meant that Spain played with a 4-5-1 formation, the same setup that helped La Roja to beat Germany by the same 1-0 scoreline in the Euro 2008 final.
An online poll taken by Mundo Deportivo showed Thursday that no less than 89 per cent of readers think that Spain will now also beat the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.
The principal narrative in the Spanish media was that Del Bosque has done well to restore the players’ confidence in themselves after the shock debut defeat against Switzerland.
El Pais praised him on Thursday for ‘keeping faith with the possession-and-passing game’ that took Spain to triumph at Euro 2008.
According to El Mundo, La Roja ‘was rarely in danger against Germany because they dominated possession of the ball, as usual.’
Several newspapers carried the comments of Luis Aragones, the coach who led Spain to that 2008 triumph.
Aragones, who was very critical with Del Bosque and his players at the start of the tournament, said on Wednesday that ‘it is very difficult now to beat Spain, because of the possession that the team enjoys...The important thing is that the team who had the ball has won.’