Brazil soccer has taken the world by storm – the 2014 World Cup is fully upon us. Every now and then the vagabond in me gives way to the passionate sportsman, virtually all my travel ceases or directly corresponds to what’s happening on the pitch. Considering I’m already in Spain, what many consider the soccer capital of the world, things could be worse!
Spanish people are passionate, which is perhaps the understatement of the year. Football is more or less a religion out here. Everywhere there are jerseys and flags, people singing in the streets in the days leading up to the match. Travel down to the beaches and you’ll see at least two separate soccer games taking place just north of the shore.
I went to a local pub to watch this game and while the Dutch have quite a following, this place was crawling with fans of Spain. Virtually every corner of the bar was draping in traditional Spanish red and gold colors. Tough matchup to begin the Cup for Spain – a rematch of the finals between a dangerous Netherlands squad.
Goodness me, you could practically hear a pin drop before the first half came to completion. Things quickly went from bad to worse. Even Spanish star Sergio Ramos looked absolutely deflated toward the end of the match. After a beautiful header to tie things up, Netherlands soon went ahead and never looked back. Final score was 5-1.
This has been a dynamite opening series for the Netherlands – I can feel the little Dutch side of myself beaming with pride. Shame is that side of my family isn’t really interested in football! I suppose there’s always four more years from now …
It’s hard to keep the Spanish people down, although that big of a rout certainly seemed to throw the most passions for a loop. Everyone I’ve talked to has expressed some incredible optimism about the remainder of the tournament. I suppose it’s hard to keep a champion down.
There are a lot more people in Spain interested in the US match than you might expect. A few of my friends in the area, most of which are involved with ESL teaching, are getting together for this one. The bar they’re taking me too is frequented by a lot of displaced Americans – perhaps we’ll have more luck today vs Ghana than our host country enjoyed this weekend. Cheers!