The strains of “Que Viva Espana” rang out across central Madrid Thursday as around 10,000 Spanish fans celebrated their team's 3-0 defeat of Russia in Euro 2008, which they watched on giant outdoor screens.
The yellow and red colours of the national flag filled the vast Plaza Colon, where a television channel had set up the screens for supporters to follow the team, who now face Germany in Sunday's final.
“This time yes, this time champions on Sunday,” said Juan, wrapped in a Spanish flag and with a bottle of beer in his hand, who had come to the square with three friends.
Chants of “Espana, Espana” and “on day 26, Russia said goodbye” rang out as the match neared its end, and then “Que Viva Espana” as the referee blew the final whistle.
The ecstatic fans, many with their faces painted red and yellow, spilled out of the square onto the tree-lined Paseo de Recoletos avenue, accompanied by a cacophony of car horns and watched by bemused tourists.
Large numbers of police struggled to keep the traffic moving on one of the city's main arteries.
The fiesta however was not as wild as that following Spain's nail-biting quarter-final win over Italy on penalties.
“We have a great chance on Sunday” to win the Spain's first major international championship since Euro 1964, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, who was at the match in Vienna, told television channel Cuatro.
Also in the stands were Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Laetitia.
“We all loved it, it was calmer after the second goal,” the prince told Cuatro.
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