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Spain reign supreme

Paul the octopus, not Iniesta or Villa, was the name on everybody's lips last night as a corner of Dublin became a part of Spain last night.

Fans thronged the Living Room in Cathal Brugha Street and a fiesta of celebrations erupted on the final whistle.

"I was so nervous watching the match," revealed Elena Pereira, "but I kept thinking about the octopus so I knew we'd win. I wasn't paying too much attention to him until he said we would beat Germany but he was right. I think this must be the best night of my life."

However, it was a tense 120 minutes for followers of the eight-armed creature as the match remained 0-0 at the end of normal time. Speaking to the Herald as he took a breather from the tropical temperatures of the pub, Barcelona native Nacho Carril joked: "If Paul the octopus isn't right, we will have to cook him!

"I'm completely exhausted and my nerves are depleted, but we deserve to win. With Spain you always have to suffer first -- it's just a Spanish thing."

His predictions were right on the money, with Spaniards enduring a nail-biting 26 minutes of extra time before Andres Iniesta finally struck home.

While the long-awaited goal triggered agony for the Oranjes, it was a case of unbridled ecstasy in the Living Room as the celebrations got underway. Amid roars of "Ole, Ole, Ole", jubilant fans spilled out onto the streets to cheer the country's first World Cup victory.

Pilar Garcia admitted: "I cried at full-time, but now it is fiesta time." His friend, Victoria Arenas, from Malaga promised: "We will party all night and all month."

Tensions had reached fever pitch among Dublin-based supporters, but with the final whistle came glorious relief as the streets of Dublin turned into a sea of red and yellow.

Shouts of "Viva Espana!" rang out across the city, while emotional fans burst into a rendition of "We are the Champions". And when captain Iker Casillas finally got his hands on the Jules Rimet trophy, Spanish pride hit a record high.



Suspicions

For Santiago Hernandez, his country's victory proved his suspicions that Spain perform better when he's abroad.

"It's just unbelievable", he told the Herald.

"I've always been outside Spain for World Cup matches and I was away when they won the European Championships.

"I came back to Dublin on Friday from Madrid so it's a good idea that I'm always outside Spain when they play".

As for the underwater creature that predicted the result, he beamed, "that octopus is really great".

"Paul should be made a Spanish citizen," joked Iris Santos.

Students Guillermo Carcedo and Eduardo Battaner are in Dublin to learn English, but the emotion of the victory left them speechless in any language.

Guillermo explained: "We're studying here for one month and just got here this morning and we were told this was the place to watch the match".

afinneran@herald.ie


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