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National team brings together Spain's previously divided groups.
And apparently that pride can be financially, or economically tangible.
Miguel Sebastian, minister for tourism and commerce, admitted that “if Spain wins the World Cup we will have to reassess the predictions for economic growth.”
His belief was endorsed by Javier Gomez Navarro, president of Spain’s Chamber of Commerce, who predicted that a win on Sunday would “significantly change the psychology of Spain’s consumers.”
Perhaps more scientifically, there is evidence from a study by ABN Amro Bank that Germany’s performance in their own World Cup four years ago increased economic growth by 0.7 percent — and Jurgen Klinsman’s side only finished third.
It might be too much to place the burden of a full economic recovery on the shoulders of eleven men who, by the way, will be dressed in blue, rather than red, on Sunday night as Spain is Team B. Holland will play in their usual vibrant orange.
The football played by the ‘Furia Roja,' or Red Fury, two years ago was seductive and surprising yet it did nothing to prevent the effects of the global financial depression hammering Spain.
A victory though would greatly shore up the credibility of Spanish domestic football which has seen its two great brand name clubs, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, rack up a joint global debt which is circling $700 million. The two main television companies have recently emerged from a vicious court battle which has left one, Mediapro, mortally wounded and threatens the payment of T.V. earnings to clubs which could struggle to pay wages.
The Spanish team impresses as a group of extraordinary and yet ordinary young men. Extraordinary in that a handful of them are genuinely great at their profession and one, Xavi, who is en route to becoming recognized as the best soccer player his country has ever produced.
Ordinary in that when times have been tough in this tournament, just like the working men and women back home, they rolled up their sleeves and tackled adversity with sweat and hard work.
Just as the Spanish team have set aside their own ethnic differences, they have embraced black South Africans. Fernando Torres has spent time researching South Africa's historic struggle against apartheid and noted daily racism in the country. Ramos talked about wanting to give South Africa a joyful and inspirational tournament.
When it is all over, win or lose, the Spanish team will have travelled far. What has been most remarkable is how many people, of different languages, races, creeds and colors, they have brought with them on the journey.