David Villa 3 Raul Gonzalez 0

By FourFourTwo's guest columnist, Tim Stannard of La Liga Loca

When Valencia's sulky striker David Villa popped in his third effort in Spain's roasting of Russia, La Liga Loca got a cheeky SMS from a lucky punter at the game suggesting that Raúl must have burst into tears at that magic moment.

That teasing text inspires the entertaining image of the redundant Spanish striker and Guti sitting on a sofa like Beavis and Butthead, watching the action whilst sharing a bucket of chicken wings - with the Real Madrid captain gently sobbing and his testy team-mate hurling drumsticks and screaming at the sight of Santi Cazorla trotting onto the field.

The arm of the Spanish media that has got itself into the biggest tizz over Luis Aragones' win is the TV station covering the tournament, Cuatro. ("On Saturday it's Sweden, then it's Greece and then it's the quarter finals!", screamed the Cuatro commentator when Spain went 2-0 up.) And who can blame them as much of their normal day-to-day programming consists of substandard (not nearly enough nudity) reality tv shows.

For weeks now, the station and its super-sized staff of 167 pundits and presenters has been stalking the Spanish squad and members of its family. In the past few days alone, Cuatro has gone live to Austria to see the Spanish bus leave the training ground and interviewed Iker Casillas's granny, who dribbled that her grandson stopper need not bother coming home without the Euro 2008 trophy.

"It's not fair! I didn't ask to be born!"

The more modest men at Marca have restricted themselves to just the 34 pages of coverage pointing out the fact that Spain has "repeated the start in the World Cup against Ukraine" - and they're quite right apart from the different scoreline, 4-0. And we all remember what happened after that.

The Marca man who walks amongst Spain's movers and shakers, Roberto Gomez, was barely aware that there was a game of footie going on in front of him and opened his column by describing how he almost came to a climax on meeting members of the Spanish royal family, in the VIP area. "It was an honour when the Prince and Princess stopped for a moment to greet me with 'How are you, Roberto?'" gushed Gomez, mishearing the inquiry of "How did you get in?" The numbskull name-dropper later went on to describe bumping into two mayors from Madrid, who better not have been there using La Liga Loca's hard-earned taxes or by jiminy, there'll be trouble.

Bernd Schuster is writing for the paper on the Spanish encounters and opines that there were a lot of positives in the team's play but that there were still worrying warning signs. "The main weaknesses is to be found at the back... there were small moments of uncertainty," says Schuster, highlighting the occasions when Puyol's posse chose to stare at the ball rather than boot it into the stands.

"No, Roman, please go ahead - mi casa su casa"

AS are no less glowing in their coverage of the action in Austria, with editor Alfredo Relaño writing that "the remaining matches to the quarters seem like a comfortable sledge ride".

The genius of journalism, Tómas Roncero, has been banished to the Euros and is as pleased as punch at his country picking up all three points against the Ruskies. The comic columnist describes a call he received before the game from the AS technical help desk and a slight issue that had arisen in regards to his laptop. Tómas, your computer password has expired," warned his colleague. "'Champions!' is no good. Choose another". Should anyone want to travel to Innsbruck and hack into his hardware, Roncero's new password is "A por ellos!" ["We're behind them!"].

Meanwhile, it is a common assumption that those living in Catalunya don't give two hoots about the antics of Aragones, but that's not quite true. Sport splash David Villa on their front cover, but inside, Francesc de Haro warns "In Spain, euphoria is rapidly unleashed and the trophy is lifted after just one game".

For once, that doesn't seem to be the case in the Spanish capital, with barely a toot from a car horn or a celebrating song after the 4-1 win - a strong contrast to the VE-Day style scenes witnessed in recent years after similar triumphs.

"Viva football! Viva España! Of course we can do it!" screams Tómas Roncero, who definitely believes. His countrymen, however, are yet to be convinced.

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