The exploits of Spanish ‘bulls’

Spain’s footballers are now larger than life, their popularity

Pamplona’s bulls are racing this week through the Spanish city’s streets during the famous fiesta of San Fermin.

In macabre scenes thousands of people run ahead of six bovines along an 850-metre course, attempting to avoid potentially deadly attacks. During the first two days of racing at least seven people have been sent to hospital.

The event was mirrored on Wednesday night by another group of Spaniards, fit to be labelled bulls, who trampled all over Germany’s national football team in the World Cup semi-final.

Spain outclassed Germany in a 1-0 victory in South Africa’s eastern coastal city of Durban.

The much-touted team, who earlier in the tournament had failed to deliver the scintillating performances expected of them, appear to be peaking at the right time – when the test is toughest.

Germany’s machine-like destruction of England, Argentina and Australia in past rounds was debilitated by the nuts and bolts of Spain’s passing game.

The night’s festivities here in the capital were tacitly scheduled outside Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium. There, about 20,000 people gathered to watch the game on a big screen, with the temperatures well over 30 degrees Celsius adding to the party atmosphere.

After the final whistle many supporters at the Bernabeu joined the masses in partying in central Madrid’s small bars, roads and plazas. The nation’s famed reputation for socialising late in the evening appeared to go into overdrive, with celebrations continuing until dawn.

A good number took the opportunity to refresh themselves during the humid night time by singing and dancing in the city’s fountains.

Cars and motorbikes became mobile discotheques of sorts, while those people witnessing events from their apartment balconies would have seen rivers of red and yellow in the streets below. 

It was a historic moment for Spain which had not previously reached the final of a World Cup, and if there wasn’t before there is now a guarded confidence among locals that destiny awaits.

The players are already heroes here and, barring a mauling in the final against the Netherlands on Sunday evening, the bulls of Spanish football will be rapturously welcomed in avenues and squares nationwide, unlike the beasts feared in the streets of Pamplona.

Follow Rhodri Davies on Twitter: @rhodrirdavies

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