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It’s a breakaway: In Boston, fans celebrate Spain’s World Cup win

Follow custom, jump in fountain

By Christopher J. Girard and Matt Byrne
Globe Correspondents / July 12, 2010

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A cacophony of chanting and horn blasts echoed through Christian Science Plaza early yesterday evening as hundreds of fans of the Spanish World Cup team, minted first-time champions less than an hour before, waded into the plaza’s reflecting pool to celebrate their nation’s historic victory.

Young people — some fully clothed, others down to undergarments or swimsuits — flung themselves into the water brandishing flags, horns, and jerseys in a splashing, screaming scrum of celebration. The crowd pulsed in joyous chants of “España! España!’’ as fans streamed into the sun-splashed plaza and converged on the eastern end of the pool close to the children’s fountain.

“We are really, really excited,’’ said Beatriz Hernandez, 23, of Madrid, who had arrived in Boston yesterday to begin studying English. She said she longed to be back home for the occasion and was proud of her team: “We were a little bit sad, because we couldn’t celebrate in Spain with our friends.’’

Earlier, in the shadow of Fenway Park, thousands of people watched the World Cup final. Some were fervent fans, willing their team to win the match, be it Spain or the Netherlands. Others were more casual, simply wanting to be a small part of the most-watched sporting event in the world.

Spain’s Andrés Iniesta scored the game’s first goal in extra time in the 116th minute, which may mean Carlos Fernandez from Madrid was among the pool jumpers.

Fernandez, 17, was one of about 60 teenagers from Spain sporting faces painted red and jerseys to match at halftime on Lansdowne Street. The teenagers are studying English at Fisher College. They that if their side won, they would jump in a fountain, as is Spanish custom.

Claire Berg of Boston was watching at the House of Blues, which showed the match on a massive screen in a venue usually reserved for concerts.

Berg said she returned late Saturday night from a trip to Costa Rica, where she watched the World Cup in local bars.

Yesterday, she was pulling for the Dutch.

“They’re fun, and they’re the underdog,’’ Berg said.

Berg’s friend, Christina Caligiuria of Boston, 23, wore an orange blouse, held an orange purse, and drank an orange-colored beer, suggesting a loyalty to the Netherlands. But she said she was not ready to choose.

“I don’t know who I’m rooting for,’’ said Caligiuria, 23.

About 2,000 people watched at House of Blues, which has a capacity of 2,425, said Robert Dougherty, director of sales.

Several people interviewed in and near Lansdowne Street bars said they were not die-hard fans, but did not want to miss the fun.

On the other hand, John Fitzpatrick, who grew up in Dublin and moved to Boston three years ago, said he is a huge fan of the sport the rest of the world calls football. He said he watched all of the Netherlands’ qualifying matches, but he wished his native country were in the final match.

“Of course I wish I was watching Ireland,’’ he said.

Fitzpatrick, 26, said he has season tickets for the New England Revolution.

“It’s fun. My friends have a lot of questions for me about how things work,’’ he said. “There’s a good buzz in Boston this time around.’’

Judith Noorman of Amsterdam was enjoying a drink at Game On!.

“I never expected the team to make it this far,’’ said Noorman, who was in town for a wedding.

Noorman and her friend, Jennifer Brown of New York, had no view of the television from their patio table.

“My boyfriend’s in there; he’s Dutch, too,’’ Noorman said. “We couldn’t get a table.’’

At House of Blues, Josh Howell of Dorchester watched with friends. Howell said he lived in Barcelona for three years.

“Despite the Spanish connection, I’d like to see the Netherlands win,’’ Howell said. “Spain, at some points, their attitude is slightly entitled.’’

Mark Additon of Saunderstown, R.I., said he is not really a soccer fan, but has found the World Cup interesting and has great admiration for the players.

“I mean, that guy just got spiked in the chest,’’ Additon said.

“I’d be in the hospital!’’

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