‘Viva Espana!’ shouted locals

There
are only a handful of Spanish ex-pats in the Cayman Islands but they made
enough noise last Sunday afternoon when Spain beat Holland in the World Cup final
to be heard in Jamaica.

They
all congregated at the Spanish Consul for a party. And how they celebrated!

It
was the first time in the country’s history that the Jules Rimet trophy was
going there and judging by raised expectations, it won’t be the last. But they
will have to beat five-time champions Brazil on their home turf to retain the
World Cup in 2014.

Santiago
Campo lives in South Sound and is the water sports manager for Red Sail Sports.
He must have felt capable of walking on water after that coveted 1-0 victory.

For
years Spain were the perennial underachievers; talented players who choked for
no apparent reason. But when they finally won the European Championships two
years ago, that frustrating era ended. That meant they were joint favourites
with Brazil to hoist the trophy in South Africa. 

“I
had hope, like always but the World Cup is a very difficult tournament,” said
Campo, 39. “I have been dreaming of this moment all my life, in every World Cup
for the last 20 years, Spain was always in the favourite top five teams to win
the tournament but we never made it past the quarter-finals. We were always the
underachievers.

“There
is lots of pressure in a World Cup and after the first round the teams only
have one chance in every stage, basically every match is a final and any team
can have a bad day, like Spain against Switzerland (the Swiss surprisingly won
1-0), or Germany versus Serbia (again 1-0 to the Serbs). Spain won the title
for the first time and I have never felt so proud of being Spanish.”

Campo
did not expect them to beat Holland by a bigger margin. “I knew that it was
going to be a very tight match and that the first goal would be the winner.
Spain and Holland play very similar football. The final was not a beautiful
match. There was too much tension, but I think that the best football won.
Holland were way too violent and even dirty in some plays. The flying kick by
de Jong on Alonso deserved a red card, even a stronger punishment. The whole
world saw it, except for Howard Webb, the referee.

“The
whole championship was a great success, the organisation was excellent. Very
well done for South Africa. The German team also surprised me. It’s a young
squad and they showed very good and strong football. It will be hard to beat
them again in the next European Championships.

“A
bad note would be the refereeing. It’s clear that FIFA has to do something
about it so we don’t see situations like the English goal against Germany or
the two hand balls of Fabiano from Brazil. The players are faster than before
but the refs are not. They have to introduce the use of technology like in most
sports.

“Spain
has a young team. The average age is only 25 so most of this year’s players
will still be there for the next World Cup. We will not have our best defender
Puyol, but I am sure we will find another player soon. To beat Brazil in their
own country will be extremely difficult but not impossible. If Spain keeps
playing football the way they do we can win again and again
and again.”

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