20 Oct 2011

España vs Scotland - the World Champions come to Alicante!

October 11th, 2011...
So, where were we? Ah yes! Dudes in skirts invaded Alicante!!! And why? All to see a beautiful trophy in a glass case? I don't think even the most ardent fans would fly all the way down here just for that (although the added incentive of the local beaches and sunny weather might help). Nope, they were all here to witness their teams' final qualifying match for the 2012 European Football Championship! What were the stakes? Well for Spain a matter of pride, hoping to win all their matches in a qualifying phase for the first time (something very few countries have done) and maintain their winning streak in Alicante (they've never lost here!), but for Scotland the stakes were much higher: a loss would mean farewell to their dreams of playing in Poland and the Ukraine next summer.

Now, although it might seem otherwise from the number of posts on the subject, I am NOT a big football fan! Except when the national team is involved... then I go kind of crazy... particularly if it's a World Cup year (see last year's football madness, lol!). ;o)  In fact, I've only been once to see a live football match, and that was a big final in Mexico D.F. 16 years ago with a friend who insisted I had to see a live match (and we had a blast!). Although I've often thought it would be fun to go see another match with a group of friends, I haven't really done anything about it. The best time would have been last year when Alicante's local team - the Hercules - was in 1st Division and the best teams in the country all came to play here at some point, but I was out quite frequently so nada. But the Selección comes to Alicante for the first time in 10 years?!?!?! There's NO WAY I was going to miss out on joining in in that fiesta with the reining World Champions! Add to that the fact that my dad had never been to a live football match (American football I'm guessing yes), and we were all set to make a father-daughter adventure out of it! :o)


He looks excited doesn't he?

We walked into the Rico Perez (the Hercules' stadium) barely 5' before the match started and of course the place was packed and the ambiance fantastic!

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Could barely glimpse an empty seat here or there, while on the grass the national flags were out to introduce the two teams.

When Spain's was lifted up and the names of the players called out, the crowd just went wild!

But don't think the Scots weren't as equally as loud! We were sitting in a corner near the end where most of the Scots were and I can tell you they made their presence felt! Very colourful, lots of cheering, and of course bagpipes (which you can't really make out on my videos because of the cheering)!

Here are the two teams:


Standing to attention while the National Anthems are played:

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I must say, not having words means the Spanish anthem doesn't come across as well as the Scottish one... :p

Everyone seems to be in position to start:

Including our goalie, Valdés, standing just in front of us!

*sigh* I was really hoping to watch team captain (my fav player, doesn't hurt that he's very good looking ;o) ) and sometime national hero "San" Iker Casillas defending the goal... *sigh*

Our seats were good, but no where near as good as these guys!


I guess the perk of being on stadium duty (riot police), is getting to sit on a bench on the field and enjoy the match! Until just before half time when they lined up around the field facing the crowd, kind of like this lady from stadium security:

Hmmm... she doesn't seem too happy to be having to spend the whole match with her back to the action! ;o)

What's this?!


GOOOOOOOOOOL!!!


Only problem with being right in front of the goal on one end? You're terribly far away from the other goal! We completely missed that one! Realised it had gone in when everyone was up cheering! :p

But that's just it, I discovered that you don't really go to the stadium to admire the players' footwork, precision passes or powerful shots. Nope, if you want to admire those you're better off at home with a good TV. The live action is for the AMBIANCE!!! The thrill, the cheering crowds, the moments you get to see up close...  And if you're in a stadium with Spain's national football team, then part of that means this guy:

Manolo "El Bombo". I guess you could call him the Selección's number 1 fan since he's been to almost all their matches since 1982!!! Here he is playing along with Alicante's marching band:

cheering on the Scots fans:


and the Spaniards:

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More action up at the other end of the field!


GOOOOOOL!!!


At least we didn't miss this one!


It's 2-0 at the half time and we're ecstatic! :o)

Not so much the Scottish fans though...


Second half begins, and we're hoping to see one of those goals up close and personal since Spain will now be aiming for the spot right in front of us! In the meantime one can always admire the players warming up and getting ready to replace one of their team-mates on the field...


Interesting view, eh? (the muscles on their thighs are scary!) ;o)


wait! wait! here they come!!!

David Villa is in position...


he shoots and...


GOOOOOOOOOL!!!

The Scots are doomed... but they didn't leave empty handed. The ref granted them a penalty shot 25' before the end, and they made the most of their opportunity:


Speaking of the ref, I now know another reason to yell at them (other than the typical "that was/wasn't a fault!"):


Blocking your field of vision when the action is hot! grrrrrrrr...


Game over. The players move to the centre of the field to salute each other.

And then give us another interesting view. ;o)


Final score:

Not everyone is thrilled...


needless to say my dad and I were! We had a blast!!! :o)

2 comments:

  1. You don't stint on the pictures, do you? I felt like I was there for every goal, Cris! Good picture of the two of you, too... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm afraid not DJan! It's my inner paparazzi coming out... I find it so hard reducing the number of photos... :p

    ReplyDelete

Hey there! Yes you! The quiet one in the back... I'd love it if you hung out for a bit and shared your thoughts!

I might stop by your place with an answer, but I'm more likely to reply right here so click on "email follow up comments" if you'd like to see what I and others have to say and come continue the conversation! ;o)