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Arizona students take in Spain's World Cup soccer mania (w/ slideshow and video)

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Editor's note: Valentina Martinelli is a photographer for the Arizona Daily Wildcat who is studying abroad in Spain.


Alcalá de Henares, just 30 minutes outside of Madrid, is best known as the picturesque hometown of Cervantes, but it is also home to the Universidad de Alcalá.

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Here, all exchange students, including myself, live with a host family; students can be placed with the traditional nuclear families, single parents or single people. No matter what type of family you stay with, the food is still the uniting element.


But another form of unity has been uncovered this year — the year of the World Cup.






This is an important year for Spain in the world of soccer. The national team has never won a World Cup before; however, many Spaniards believe this may be their year.


While walking from my apartment to the university, all of the apartment buildings I have passed proudly displayed the Spanish flag, in support for their country and team. At the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid — the home stadium of powerhouse soccer team Real Madrid Club de Fútbol — we watched the World Cup soccer games on big screens surrounded by other soccer fanatics.






Here, I was surrounded by people proudly wearing the Spanish colors and even the Spanish flag with chants of ""Yo soy español, español, español,"" which translates to, ""I am Spanish, Spanish, Spanish.""


After Spain's victory over Paraguay, the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu exploded into cheers, people embraced whomever was standing next to them — stranger or friend — and everyone shared in the sweet taste of victory. On the metro ride home, the train was literally shaking with people jumping up and down, still overcome with the euphoria of victory.






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