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World Cup Woes

One aspect that I really hoped would be great in Spain was the whole-hearted, unmatched support of football. I’ve long been a fan of Spanish football, and marveled at the sights of the 95,000 capacity stadiums sold out with fans who knew the chants and believed in their players. I also thought that although the United States did not qualify for the World Cup, I could witness an even better experience in Spain because the Spanish football section had a realistic chance of winning the Cup. Before arriving in Barcelona I thought that there would be crazy spectacles in the streets after a Spanish victory and all the stores would have flags and posters to support the team but when I arrived, there were no posters, maybe one person out of every 500 people I saw was wearing a team jersey and after Spanish victories people did not celebrate as I foresaw. After doing some research, I discovered that the lack of much support for the national team in Barcelona may have been the result of anti-Spanish feelings in Catalonia.

I watched Spain’s last game in the World Cup at a packed bar with other Northwestern students and other Barcelona locals, where the match ended in a penalty shootout. The scenes on the inside were vibrant; the highs were lofty and the lows were abysmal. For a Catalan woman we were sitting next to, it was the “worst day of her life”. Upon the final defeat, the outside of the bar remain unchanged. Barcelona did not miss a beat, it breathed exactly the same, people appeared unbothered and unfazed. This experience was especially unique, as I realized the ecstatic bar I watched the last match in was actually full of English speakers.

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