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Spain Kicks to the Top of the Eurocup

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Spain Kicks to the Top of the Eurocup

Sports

Spain Kicks to the Top of the Eurocup

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ALEX COHEN, host:

Back now with Day to Day.

Spain has been one big fiesta after their national soccer team clinched the European Championship yesterday. Jerome Socolovsky watched the final match with 10's of 1000's of football fans in Madrid.

(Soundbite of cheering)

JEROME SOCOLOVSKY: The fans watched with a mixture of apprehension and excitement, as the Spanish team gradually took control of the field in Vienna and dominated the Germans to the end. The last time Spain captured an international trophy was in 1964, when it defeated the former Soviet Union in that year's European Championship. Many of those who spilled into the streets of Madrid last night were not even born then.

I'm at the victory celebrations with some of the ardent fans who are just wild about this title. Throngs of young people are dancing in the streets, draped in yellow and red Spanish flags.

(Soundbite of football fans singing)

Unidentified Man #1: I think now is the best team of the world. Today, yes. Tomorrow, OK.

(Soundbite of football fans singing)

SOCOLOVSKY: That's Alvarochi Menes Bairon(ph), he's 17, and his team's colors are painted all over his bare chest. Now why did it take Spain so long to win this title?

Mr. ALVAROCHI MENES BAIRON (Football Fan, Spain): (Spanish Spoken)

SOCOLOVSKY: Because Spain had a hard time learning what it means to compete like a team, he says. In the past, the Spaniards lost their nerve when facing powerhouses at World and Euro-cup finals, but this year Espania made "paella" of Italy, Russia and Germany on their way to the trophy.

(Soundbite of football fans singing)

SOCOLOVSKY: So for a night, many of Spain's worries, the economy, unemployment, separatism, were forgotten, at least here in Madrid. The fans danced and sang in the streets, in bars, in fountains, and looked forward to the next big trophy, the 2010 World Cup, in South Africa. For NPR News, I'm Jerome Socolovsky, in Madrid

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