'Red Fever' peaking as World Cup dream spreads

26th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 June 2006, MADRID — As football-mad Spain face France on Tuesday, more than half the population now believe their team can go all the way and win the World Cup.

27 June 2006

MADRID —  As football-mad Spain face France on Tuesday, more than half the population now believe their team can go all the way and win the World Cup.

An online poll taken by Madrid sports daily AS showed 74 percent of readers thought Spain will beat France.

Not since 1986, when Spain reached the quarter-finals in Mexico, has 'Red Fever' been so strong.

The Spanish daily El Mundo claims that almost six million Spain shirts have been sold in the past month, many of them cheap imitations from China.

Normally more Brazil, England or even Italy shirts can be seen on the streets of Spanish cities, but not any more.

Another manifestation of 'Red Fever' is the number of people attending the massive open-air giant-screen 'World Cup parties'.

On Friday more than 100,000 fans, practically all of them in red, packed into Madrid's massive Plaza Colon to follow the 1-0 defeat of Saudi Arabia.

Around 150,000 are expected in Colon on Tuesday night, for the France match.

As usual, 'Red Fever' has been less widespread in Catalonia and the Basque Country, two regions traditionally indifferent - if not downright hostile - to the national team.

In Seville, for example, some 200,000 fans are expected to watch the France match on various outdoor screens, whilst Juan Gomez Serrano, the mayor of Granada, boasted on Saturday that 'practically everyone here' will be tuned in on Tuesday night.

Gomez Serrano added he had cancelled all police leave, "in order to control the celebrations which I am sure will last all night".

More than 15 million Spaniards are expected to watch the match on television, which will be a new record for the national team.

The previous record was 11 million, when Spain played South Korea and lost in the quarter-final four years ago.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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