Pride in Spain as Del Bosque's side continue to deliver when it matters most

It’s not often that La Liga Loca has the chance to be all fresh, brash and Rosie Pérez in White Men Can’t Jump with a huge, smug ‘told you so’. In fact, LLL has never previously had that opportunity. Recent posts predicted Barcelona to prevail in the Copa del Rey semi-final Clásicos, and for Real Madrid and Barça to be knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage, although that was perhaps more wishful thinking inspired by the love of a quiet life.

But the vibe ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier between Spain and France was spot-on, with this very blog reminding you that the World and European champions have always thrown the odd wobbly before bouncing back when required with a gritty 1-0 win. Admittedly, that looked in doubt for a while in Paris, with Spain missing chances and Víctor Valdés busier than the Spanish media would care to remember, with the theme in the post-match reports being that it was a very deserved win.

The goal was a pleasing scrambled effort from Pedro and not “magnificent” as Marca’s match report claimed, and continued a fine international campaign for the Canary Islander, who has scored 10 goals this season for Spain. All in all, it was a Barça-based victory, with Valdés pulling off some fine stops at the other end of the pitch, and this has inspired some rare interest from the press in the Catalan capital.

“Pedro gives the World Cup a second chance” beamed Wednesday’s front cover of Sport. “Nobody can stop a national team that shows a praiseworthy concentration and absolute effort,” was Josep Maria Casanovas' response to a win that gives Spain a one-point lead in their group with three matches left. “Del Bosque can be proud of his men, they always deliver in tough moments.”

Mundo Deportivo are also holding back a tear or two, with Francesc Aguilar commenting that “it’s not that (Spain) want to die true to their style, but the opposite. They go out to win, as always, with the pride of Champions.”

AS are commendably political on Wednesday. Aside from the sufficiently boastful headline that “there’s a reason we are Champions”, editor Alfredo Relaño refers to the numerous corruption trials taking place in the country, including one involving the King’s son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarín. “This land, swept up from north to south by ‘urdangarinatos’ that weaken us and depress us needed a moment of joy like this.”

“A dumbstruck Paris watched a display by the best national team on planet Earth,” reports Tomás Roncero. There was great love as well from the enormous Madridista to Víctor Valdés and the goalkeeper’s match-saving performance. “When the great Iker lifts the World Cup in 2014 [...] I will leave a space in my memory for the great saves of Valdés. Thanks, Víctor. Thanks, Spain.”

The mood in Spain is not so much relief - after all, previous experiences showed that Vicente del Bosque’s side delivers when it’s really, really, really necessary - but rather great pride. Despite the differences in the Spain camp between the players from The Big Two, it was a victory forged in La Masia (via the Canary Islands) but with crucial contributions from the Spanish capital and even Pamplona, with a solid display from Nacho Monreal. The country may be in a massive mess in every other department, but the football team keeps on rolling.

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