Women’s World Cup: Fans rejoice in Madrid as Spain makes football history
By Jenny Hill, BBC, in Madrid
“Girl power!” exclaimed one woman as the final whistle blew and the fan zone erupted into screams and tears of joy.
There were so many children and young people in the crowd, their faces painted in the red and yellow of the Spanish flag.
This, presumably, was a moment many will remember for the rest of their lives.
“We are especially happy to have had this experience with our baby daughter,” one man said as he held his little girl who was wearing her very own Spain shirt.
“They play as well as the men and they have to make the same effort. I think we have to give them more support and more sponsorship by the big companies.”
After all, he said, “they give us the same joy”.
Spain’s victory is all the more remarkable for two reasons.
First, the national side has been plagued by reports of a difficult relationship between some of the players and the coach, Jorge Vilda, a months-long feud that overshadowed preparations for the tournament.
It was notable that every time Mr Vilda appeared in shot, there were audible boos and jeering from the watching fans.
And second, the Spanish team does not enjoy the same level of support as the men’s side.
This may be a football-mad country, but it was striking that there were few, if any, signs of support for the women in the bars, shops and restaurants that surround the fan zone.
That, many felt here, might now change significantly in the wake of such a victory.
“It’s a beginning,” said one young man. “It’s very important for me because my sister plays football.”
The Reds do enjoy the support of Spain’s Queen Letizia, who was in Australia to watch the match with her football-playing daughter Sofia.
There is much excitement in the Spanish media, after the Queen joined the players on the pitch, jumping together in celebration. And acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted that the team had “made history”.
Few here dared to dream.
One woman said: “I thought it was going to be England, actually.”
– This story was first published by the BBC
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