Losing to the Netherlands sucks.
I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, hours after Spain’s national fútbol team suffered a crushing loss to former World Cup losers, the Netherlands. Someone commented on a post about the game, writing “Juan Carlos is really going to want to abdicate now.”
So, he already did. But he hasn’t left his position just yet, which is what I think the commenter was getting at. Regardless, the score was 5-1. That’s six goals in a game. The Netherlands scored five times more than Spain did. It’s unheard of in a competition at this high of a level.
Before the game started getting bad, walking around through Madrid’s plazas was possibly one of the best experiences I’ve had here. Every single restaurant had its television turned on to the game. Many turned their TVs to face outward, so people eating on the terrace and random passersby could watch. Crowds of people—Madrileños, tourists ( fútbol is the world’s sport after all)— gathered around TVs at every street corner. I saw no faces. Only the backs of heads.
When fouls were called, breakaways made, shots stopped, the crowds went wild. Everyone was involved in the thunder of voices—teenagers, waiters, mothers, little children. I couldn’t comprehend any of their words (there must be some secret fútbol lingo these spectators employ), but their tones made clear one of two emotions: fury, or tremendous excitement.
By the time I had left the random bench from which I decided to watch the game, the score was 4-1, Netherlands. The streets of Madrid grew eerily quiet for about an hour. They still are, sort of, but mostly everyone’s recuperated from the staggering loss. I think we’re all just shocked (myself included), pride hurt. Because it was only a group competition, Spain still has a shot at (and most likely will) enter into the second round of the World Cup. But until Spain faces Chile on Wednesday, a bitter silence will remain over this city.