Thursday, July 3, 2008


The Spanish are futbol crazy.

Los Antequeranos are no different.

It's been a fantastic couple of weeks for them.

Firstly, the local team Antequera C.F. finished second in Tercera División (Third) and the right to a play off against Caravaca for promotion to Segunda División B. The first game, away, was a 0-0 draw. Everything hinged on the home return match at the fantastic 7,000 seat capacity Estadio El Maulí. A win, 2-0! Back into the second division for the first time in 27 years (they actually languished for a couple of years out of the national divisions, in local Andalucía leagues.) Much celebration. The local ayuntamiento (town council) sponsored a party the following Friday, starting, of course, at 12:30 at night!

On the same weekend, Malaga C.F. won their last game of the season, securing third place in Segunda División and automatic promotion to La Liga, Spain's First Division. This means that La Rosaleda stadium down in Malaga will host the big boys: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid et al.

Then the big one. España goes through the Eurocopa 2008 qualifiers undefeated.

The quarterfinal against Italy turned out to be a thriller, 0-0, extra time, then the penalty shoot-out. First victory over Italy in 88 years. Town went crazy afterwards, cars and scooters honking horns until all hours.

Then the semi-final against Russia and a 3-0 win. They're swimming in the fountain at Plaza San Sebastian as town goes crazy, celebrating the prospect of a Final.

And the Final. What tension. We flew our flag of support, of course. And it was the dreaded Germans. No problems. 1-0, a sweet Fernando Torres goal. Senna was my man of the match. Iker Casillas, the goalie, their man of the tournament. We watched the championships at our favourite football watching bar Casa de Diego. It went berserk. Everyone was just so happy. We went to Plaza San Sebastian, joined in festivities, where we were all hosed from a second floor balcony - it didn't matter, it was 30 degrees at 11:30 at night! Celebrations continued long into the night. The rest of Spain also went mental. What a fantastic thing to experience.

Campeones, Campeones, Campeones. ¡Ole, Ole, Ole!

First Championship title since 1964, when they then won another European Cup. Probably world football's great underachievers now handle that title squarely over to England.

Ah, life's good.

aka Max

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