A thunderous roar erupted across the Spanish capital and fans danced in the streets and chanted "Viva Espana!" as the country's first ever FIFA World Cup™ trophy sparked a nationwide fiesta. The centre of the capital was a sea of the red and gold national colours as Spain celebrated its agonising 1-0 extra-time win over the Netherlands on Sunday.
The deafening sounds of cheering, klazons, firecrackers and car horns rang out across the city as the FIFA World Cup's perennial underachievers won the trophy in their first appearance in the Final. In temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius (Fahrenheit), more than 150,000 supporters watched the match on massive screens in a giant fan park in a one-kilometre stretch of the city's main thoroughfare.
At the final whistle, the crowd chanted "Spanish, Spanish, We are Spanish", at the start of a fiesta that was set to last throughout the night. "We are very proud and very happy, I thought it would go to penalties, Iniesta saved us," said Raul, 18. "We deserved it after winning the European championship in 2008."
Others crammed into bars or stayed home for the match, which left the country paralysed Sunday evening. Many were wrapped in the Spanish flag, wore the red team shirts or red wigs, or had their faces painted red and gold. One young woman was disguised as an octopus, in tribute to Paul, the now famous clairvoyant cephalopod in Germany who predicted Spain's victory.
We are very proud and very happy
Thousands of fans had earlier poured into the capital from other parts of the country to soak up the atmosphere, many travelling all night and planning to leave the next morning after a night of revelry. More than 2,000 police officers were on duty in the capital in case of incidents, along with medical teams.
Almost all towns and cities throughout the country installed giant screens for people to watch the match. Even in Catalonia, a region with its own distinct culture and language, there was excitement. Authorities in the Catalan capital of Barcelona set up a giant outdoor fan park for the Final, where authorities said around 75,000 people watched the match. The crowd erupted with joy and waved Spanish flags, with many in tears at the historic victory.
Meanwhile, silence fell on an Amsterdam square where about 180,000 football fans watched in disbelief on big screens. As the final whistle blew, some supporters rested their heads in their hands in defeat as the earlier festive atmosphere turned somber and a cacophony of vuvuzelas suddenly died down. Some cried, others sank down to the ground; many started leaving the square in grim silence directly after the 1-0 extra time defeat.
The normally tranquil Museumplein was earlier transformed into a sea of orange with people in T-shirts, wigs, hats, flags and banners in the colour of the national team. Some had painted their faces, others wore lion suits or tails after the national symbol.There were orange rabbit's ears, orange clogs, orange hair, inflatable orange crowns and orange viking helmets.
Amsterdam officials had earlier urged people to stop coming to the Dutch capital as the city centre and Museumplein, with a maximum capacity of 100,000 visitors, filled up three hours before the match even started.