The “red effect” has s wept over the nation of Spain as hundreds of thousands poured through the streets of cities waving flags or wearing the red shirt of its national soccer team. “La Roja,” or “The Red.” On nights of victory in a World Cup match, shouts could be heard echoing through cities of, “I am Spanish, I am Spanish,” and none were heard claiming, “I am Basque.” The newspaper, El Pais, noted, “not since the Spanish civil war have there been so many flags in the streets.” Spain since the emergence of Fascist General Franco in the thirties, went through a period of declining sense of patriotism and the rise of separate desires in Catalonia and among Basque people, but today, there is pride that Spain will sit atop the world as the leader in the world of soccer. Spain’s constitutional court declared, “our nation recognizes no nation but Spain.”
A Basque leader expressed the frustration of his organization by commenting, “this is ridiculous, we will wind up with more Spanish flags being waved for the Spanish – Holland match than Catalan flags.” Figures reveal that three-fourths of Catalan TV sets were tuned into the match between Spain and Germany. The red and gold Spanish flag that is disliked by old time nationalists is now found in every part of Barcelona and Madrid as people take pride in their soccer team as they adopt a Spanish sense of patriotism.
Five of the players in the team are from Catalonia but they play as members of the Spanish team.