12 July ~ Spain's squad returned to a rapturous welcome in Madrid today with the country's first World Cup. The situation was very different in 2002 when Phil Ball looked at the Spanish reaction to a controversial World Cup experience

Getting beyond the World Cup quarter-finals would have represented a major image problem for Spain. The whole country would have been required to change its mind-set, from might-have-been-if-it-hadn’t-been-for-the-refs to something else less com­plicated, less open to the historical shrug. There had been signs that the country had been preparing for this, the press beginning to break its self-imposed vow to keep all op­timism and flag-waving to a minimum. Read the full article

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