FAN CLUB

Spain Netherlands: World Cup Final Unites Spain

Generally speaking, Spaniards are not used to playing nice with each other. Catalonia and the Basque country spend much of their time proclaiming themselves as culturally and politically independent nations—even though the Spanish constitution says otherwise. But for a moment at least, none of that matters. With its national team playing in the World Cup final Sunday afternoon against the Netherlands, Spain is a briefly united country, rallying around La Furia Roja, as the team is known. "Not since the Spanish civil war have there been so many flags in the streets," El País newspaper reported. Until now, the flag had been widely despised outside of Madrid as a symbol of fascist rule under General Franco. But even in Barcelona, the heart of Catalonia, it is cropping up on balconies.