News Stories – Spaniards flood Trafalgar Square; world cup win

Produced as part of Monash University’s third-year study tour of UK and NY. Under the guidance of journalism lecturer, Andrea Baker, sixteen journalism students, including myself, embarked on a two-week study tour of NY & UK. The group visited the following world-leading media outlets.

Thousands of soccer fans packed Trafalgar Square following Spain’s win in the 2010 soccer World Cup finals.

The win over Holland is a first for the country and the first time a European team won outside of Europe.

The success is also the first time a nation has won the World Cup after losing its opening match in the finals.

Amid the sea of red and yellow clothed Spaniard fans, a group of police men and women stood stunned as thousands of soccer fans flocked to Trafalgar Square in Central London.

Unsure what to do with them, the police looked on as dozens of fans (some nude) climbed into the fountain and statues.

Piccadilly Circus was also inundated with fans who had climbed onto the Eros statue.

Climbing onto statues and fountains is a customary celebratory tradition for Spaniards.

The celebrations brought traffic to a standstill.

One onlooker told The Mirror, of the commotion at Trafalgar, “It was crazy. One fan jumped on top of a car and it drove off in the street with him still on top – and it ran over his friend.”

He continued to say, “Fans climbed on a bus roof and the driver could do nothing. He just had to sit there helpless.”

The top floor of the buses was not the only place they were celebrating. The inside of the famous red double-decker buses were packed out too. Fans were singing and dancing on the top floor of the bus we took to get home; the commuters below treated with the possibility the commotion could bring down the middle section of the bus.

As neither team had scored a goal in the running game time, the match turned into a penalty shoot-out.

This is when Spain was given the chance to score.

Spain’s hero came in the form of midfielder Andres Iniesta, who snatched up the goal with only four minutes remaining in overtime.

However, the win comes as the third loss for Netherlands in a world cup final who were beaten by Germany in 1974, and Argentina in 1978.

The celebrations were a cherished moment for Europe, which has been riddled with bad luck in its long soccer history.

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Liverpool Hillsborough tragedy.

On April 15 1989, 96 soccer fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough before the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Hundreds more were injured.

Before kick-off, thousands of fans outside the turnstile tried to enter the premises. As the crowd got tighter, police feared a crushing so they opened a gate, which led the patrons at the front to be crushed against the barriers.

Fans were injured and 96 patrons died as they tried to climb over the barriers.

The tragedy led to the introduction of all-seater stadiums following an inquiry into the incident.

Paul the Octopus, who became a celebrity throughout the World Cup season, predicted correctly that Spain would win.

His method was to eat a mussel out of the box – which displayed a flag from each team playing that match – of the team he predicted would win.

He predicted seven games of the games correctly that Germany had played in, as well as his World Cup final pick.

Elected as man of the match, Iniesta said, of Spain’s win: “It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to win the World Cup. To win it that way was amazing. It didn’t come easy and I still can’t believe it.”

“I’m just happy I managed to do my bit and score such an important goal for the national side. It’s a game to remember and celebrate. All we want to do now is go home and enjoy it,” Iniesta said.

And enjoy it, they did. Upon return home, the Spanish team was given a heroes welcome at the airport

Straight after their plane landed on home soil, they hopped onto and Spanish Federation bus parading around their hometown; the streets were lined with hundreds of thousands of celebrating Spaniards.

The referee of the match, Howard Webb, gave out a record fourteen yellow cards and one red card to various players throughout the match.

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