Why the England game was secondary in Spain

Spain’s superb 29-match unbeaten run began some two years ago with a 1-0 win over England, and continued last night with what was a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory at a sprightly Sánchez Pizjuán in Seville.

However, the win over the ‘pross’ – La Liga Loca has yet to hear a rational explanation as to why the English team is called this – is of secondary importance to most sections of the Spanish media, who have other far meatier matters on their minds. Like flogging, fawning and frivolity.

Or, as in Sport’s case, ignoring it completely and focusing on more magic from Leo Messi in Argentina’s win over France.

Barca's Messi runs Real's Diarra ragged

The omniscient overlords of TV had decreed that the game should kick-off at the ludicrous time of 10pm, thus ensuring that both children and wimps that require more than three hours sleep a night would almost certainly miss out on the entertaining action.

Still, it beats the brilliant brainstorm from the barmy bigwig who scheduled last year’s Copa Del Rey final on a Wednesday night at 10pm, meaning that had extra-time and penalties been required, then there would have been 55,000 people piling out of the Vicente Calderón trying to board the same night bus.

Wednesday’s showpiece match featuring Spain’s national team was broadcast, quite rightly, on His Majesty’s national channel TVE1.

Sadly, this did not prevent an advertisement for a tyre manufacturer being read out by the commentator – along with an intrusive action-blocking banner – in the opening seconds of the game. Or SMS competitions. Or any other grubby tat that the channel wanted to flog.

"Look, a fantastic pile of tyres, brought to you by our friends at...

But the most anger-inducing point of all about the event was the constant plugs for the station’s own TV shows. At very inopportune moments.

“Iniesta to Xavi... Villa is making a run! There’s danger here! At this point we’d like to thank you, the viewer, for making xxxxx the top rated show on Spanish television! With you alongside us, we’re moving forward to a golden future... Oh. There’s been a goal. Bugger.”

Unfortunately, these unforgivable irritants were not picked up on by either Marca or AS. Indeed the former praised the “the brilliance” of the channel’s sporting programmes that evening, while AS lauded its “exhaustive” coverage.

...what? goal? Villa? Bugger. GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL"

By sheer coincidence, both papers noted that their respective (and respected, of course) editors were invited onto a TVE discussion show to chew over the game and published pictures of them looking very pleased with themselves indeed.

Marca’s Roberto Gómez was given another opportunity to list all the very distinguished and very lovely people he met in the VIP area in Sevilla’s stadium. And, amazingly, they all seemed to work for Spain’s opposition conservative party or be outrageous blaggers with prestigious medical clinics in Menorca.

Over in AS, the ever-entertaining Tomas Roncero was in full gibberish mode with a column that is completely incomprehensible until the final line when he declares that “history owes us a World Cup! You can place a bet now.”

It’s at times like these when a Tic-Tac advert and a missed goal looks like BAFTA-winning broadcasting.


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