Thursday, 15 July 2010

Triumph: 74 years late

ON Sunday, the day of the World Cup Final, the Spanish newspaper El País reported: 'La selección paraliza el país anti su histórico reto con Holland.' ('The team paralysed the whole country before its historic challenge with Holland.'). That night the Spanish football team, made up mostly of Catalans and Basques, emerged victorious but battered black and blue, after a brutal match with Holland. On Tuesday, Cayetano Ros in an article entitled 'Sticks Against Spain' claimed 'All of Spain's opponents, save Germany, tried to neutralise Spanish creativity with lots of fouls': in Holland's case 28 fouls, some of them considerably grave'. This, it seems, he thought to be 'such a sharp break with the Dutch tradition and it is not possible to speak of it being spontaneous among the players in orange, rather premeditated.' 'With Spain it is only possible to play hard, rough' one Dutch player said. But Señor Ros writes: 'Germany (committing only 9 offences to 7 by Spain) was the only team to play and to leave Spain to play.'

Yesterday, Rob Hughes in the International Herald Tribune wrote: 'There has never been so foul an intent in the 40 years I have watched the World Cup'. And he added: 'Sadly, the English referee Howard Webb added to it by handing out only yellow cards to eight Dutch players.' He argued: '... seemingly afraid of the gifted Spaniards, they (the Dutch) opted to knock them down.'

When he scored the Catalan, Andrés Iniesta, took off his jersey to reveal an undershirt with the inscription 'Dani Jarque siempre con nosotros': Dani Jarque always with us. For this act he got a yellow card. Jarque played for Espanyol, the rival team to Barcelona in the Catalan capital, and who died of a heart attack in August 2009 at the age of 26. It seems that the Spanish coach, Vincente Del Bosque, though he comes from the town of Carpio del Campo in the 'heart of Old Castile' a town full of railway workers, can't resist picking Barça players and Rob Hughes writes: 'Germany (in the semi-final) effectively lost this contest to a club side' and goes on to say 'But Barcelona is a very special club.' Vincente Del Bosque's father was denounced as a republican in the Spanish Civil War and detained for 3 years in a prison in Alava.

Next Tuesday on the 20th, July it will be 74 years since Catalonia and the anarchist trade union – the CNT - defeated military sedition on the streets of Barcelona by becoming the first people to beat fascism. Later that day, still carrying the weapons with which they had stormed the Atarazanas barracks, some of the leaders of the anarchist CNT; Juan Garcia Oliver, Durruti and Diego Abad de Santillán met with President Companys to decide what steps to take. Companys is reputed to have said to them: 'Today you are masters of the city and of Catalonia because you have conquered the fascist military ...' And yet, in the end the creativity of the Spanish anarchists of 1936-7 was squashed between a medieval native military and the forces of fascism and Stalinism. England and France, rather like the English referee Howard Webb, opted for non-intervention.

1 comment:

Editor said...

The Editor would like to point out that the use of 'Holland' to describe the Netherlands football team is a common confusion: Holland is a (formerly dominant) region of the Netherlands and *not* the name of the country, although broadcasters like the BBC and publications like The Guardian persist in using the incorrect name.