Ordinarily I refuse to take an interest in any sporting event that doesn’t directly involve Jose Mourinho, but it would be churlish not to cheer on Spain as they push through Euro 2008. So 80-odd minutes into yesterday’s Spain-Sweden match I managed to find an empty table at Mar y Sol in Ibiza Town, ordered a shandy and settled in to see the finish.
Frank Lampard was sat a few tables away, with a full complement of friends, kids and his stunning Catalunyan fiancee, Elen, not looking particularly gutted to be relaxing in the sunshine rather than dashing around a pitch.
Since he still has a sort-of shine for me, thanks to his heroics during Chelsea’s title runs under Jose, I texted my best friend back home with the news. He rang back promptly. “Is he really there? Can you take a picture of him?” Yes, and no, I said. Just then I caught a goal-run out of the corner of my eye and – along with everyone on the bustling terrace – started whooping as Villa finished to seal a win and put Spain through to the quarter finals.
People who pay far more attention to these things than I do assure me Spain has a habit of “underacheving” in major tournaments. I’m very much in the “who cares? It’s all bulls**t anyway,” camp but still, it’d be fun to see them do well. If only for the sake of a few more evenings sitting in the sunshine with a glass of Estrella and the newspaper.