Spain World Cup victory covers cracks of a fractured nation

It is rare for any individual to experience the nerve shredding and emotionally gruelling challenge of watching your countrymen vie for World Cup glory. Only eight countries over two continents have ever done enough to be crowned champions of the world, so when the opportunity to join the festivities arises, it must be taken. Luckily, as a humble and slightly jaded tourist, this particular individual was able to absorb every ounce of South Africa’s closing curtain whilst basking in the burning passion and desire of Spain’s hugely diverse inhabitants.

The tiny village of Hondon, rooted deep in the western countryside of the country is hardly the epicentre of modern day living and upon first sight, appears nothing more than a ghost town. But as Andres Iniesta lashed home his decisive strike, this clutch of buildings steeped in the mountains began to erupt. Fireworks crackled, cars honked and people swarmed from every nook and cranny – it could have been Madrid. Suddenly, a population of no more than 1000 multiplied into an endless choir of anthem singers and party revellers.

La Roja failed to produce the dizzying quality that their squad had oozed against Germany and the Netherlands can count themselves unlucky to have been edged out in a fractious and tepid game. Nevertheless, it is not the performance that will be remembered, but the victory and its subsequent ramifications. Spain has always struggled to isolate a clear and concise identity for itself but for at least a summer, some common ground has been uncovered. And despite having waited so long to finally raise the famous Jules Rimet trophy aloft, infamous dictator Francisco Franco would be turning in his grave to know it was a band of Catalonians who finally answered Spain’s desperate plea for World Cup glory.

The 68th leader of the Spanish government was utterly devoted to designing and manufacturing the perfect image of his homeland. The capital was the designated ground zero, but Franco’s craving to exclude the Catalan people from the nation’s diverse tapestry only acted as a catalyst to drive them to success. Barcelona and Real Madrid’s domestic rivalry may border the extreme during the height of La Liga, but it is the blazing and immeasurable desire to outwit and outclass each other that has reaped such massive rewards for both Vicente Del Bosque’s side and the country itself.

But football is fickle like that. Two completely separate lifestyles, cultures and languages that will argue until the sun goes down can instantly forget their issues and disputes as long as the flag they live under is flying high. Come August, fans of Spain’s most successful clubs will once again turn their attention to bludgeoning each other off the pitch and embarrassing each other on it. For now, however, a previously fractured nation can come together at the top of the world, even if it is momentarily.


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