By Craig Scott

WHEN I first arrived in the Plaza Mayor – it seemed like any other big-screen experience.

However, although the blaring sound system and carnival atmosphere felt familiar, the flavour was unmistakably Spanish.

For instance, it was pipas instead of pies, hip-swinging rather than fist-throwing and with kiddiewinks on every corner – it felt more S Club 7 than Combat 18!

Even the riff-raff rubbed shoulders with the elite – though I did notice some of the richer senoras chaining their Prada purses to their Rosary beads.

Most Spanish of all, however, was the way the organisers – who’d spent hours erecting the screen, laying out chairs, rigging up audio-speakers, etc – had neglected one teeny-weeny detail.

By kick-off it was still daylight and nobody could see a damned thing because of the glare. Mierda!

As techies scratched their heads and bickered among themselves, the saying ‘couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery’ sprung to mind.

Still, at least nobody was trashing town like rioting Rangers ‘fans’ did when their big-screen died during the 2008 UEFA Cup Final.

No, the saving grace here was the Spanish chicks all pouting for iPhone pics and sucking suggestively on passion-pink lollipops.

It was blatant sexuality and worked wonderfully well at appeasing the wild-eyed hombres. Blimey, they must have used machinery to squeeze themselves into those second-skin Levis which made each appear to have bursting soccer-balls for bottoms.

As darkness fell a cheer rang out as people glimpsed the pitch and players for the first time, and the only thing worrying me was the outcome of the match.

Granted, my support for La Roja isn’t as strong as it is for ‘In-ger-land’ – that’s primal. However, I do feel passionate and protective over Espana and when everyone back home associates you with a country you don’t want some ‘Wops’ leaving you with egg on your face.

Everyone from Mark Lawrenson to Boris Becker had lampooned their ‘negativity’ and one Italian newspaper dubbed them ‘terribly boring’.

Obviously, not wishing to disappoint, Spain started the final ‘boringly’ by ONLY scoring two world-class goals inside the first 45 minutes!

Cue mass hysteria with macho bear hugs, second-skin Levis splitting at the seams, and Prada purses springing back from fully-extended Rosary beads.

At half-time, Buffon tried rallying his troops by giving them the ‘hairdryer treatment’. But it was to no avail, like the rest of us, the Azzuri knew they were Up Shit Creek without a gondola in sight.

In the end everything went to plan and Spain lifted their third successive trophy.

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