World Cup victory has put the national flag proudly on display across Spain. Yet for some – including Basques and Catalans – the flag clashes with their aspirations for greater self-rule.
Here Walter Oppenheimer, a Catalan journalist with the Spanish daily El Pais, examines the impact of World Cup euphoria in Spain.
Is football helping to unite Spain? Can the first Spanish World Cup victory achieve what no politician has been able to do for decades, if not centuries? I don’t think so, I’m afraid.
Victory in South Africa was fantastic news. It will cheer up a country terribly depressed after the recession, inject a lot of confidence and help the Spanish people to go out and spend more and boost the recovery a bit. It may even help the unemployed – 20% of the working population – to look to the future in a better mood. But it’s not going to end the so-called Catalan problem or the Basque problem.