Yesterday’s friendly not only served only to prepare for the Eurocup and see the state of some players called up by Luis Enrique. In the Metropolitan Wanda the public returned in a match of the Spanish team at home. La Roja had not played supported by their fans since that distant match against Romania in October 2019, the last of the qualification for the Eurocup and marked by the departure of Robert Moreno as coach. It was precisely on the same stage, in that Metropolitan yesterday decked out with the presence of up to 15,000 spectators. For many months, the moment of the return of fans to the great Spanish football stadiums has been longed for, empty during the final stretch of the 2019-20 season and also during almost all of 2020-21, except for the last two days only in some autonomous communities. The presence of fans in the stands was an unthinkable image not so long ago because of the pandemic.
The Community of Madrid was not one of the regions that until now had been able to allow the return of the public in the large stadiums, so Spain-Portugal was the first first-level football match with the public. In a late summer afternoon, the t-shirt, flag and scarf stands around the stadium and the buzz of lively pre-game conversations returned. It was not with a great entry, as was customary before the pandemic, especially in a match between two top-level teams. Masks and safety distance are still the order of the day due to the logical precaution against the virus, but the day at least served to recover feelings that were almost forgotten and warm up engines among the fans for the great event that is coming in just one week.
The Iberian candidacy for the 2030 World Cup beats strongly and already has the institutional endorsement. On the occasion of the confrontation between Spain and Portugal, the Heads of State and Government of both countries staged an act in support of the international tournament organization project on the same set of the match. King Felipe VI, the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa; the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and his Portuguese counterpart, Antonio Costa presided over the event to make the candidacy visible.
The presidents of the soccer federations of both countries, Luis Rubiales and Fernando Gomes, former player among other Sporting clubs, continued thus with the reinforcement of a project that was already highlighted in the duel between the two teams last October in the José Alvalade from Lisbon.
This time, the meeting had even greater symbolism, as it commemorated the centenary of the first football clash between the two countries, played in December 1921 at the O’Donnell stadium in Madrid, with a 3-1 Spanish victory. Not surprisingly, Portugal is the team with which Spain has played the most times in its history.