Despite being Saturday night, it's a quiet evening here in Spain. Everyone must be having an early night in hopeful anticipation.
Will Spain retain the Euro 2012 championship tomorrow? We will have to wait and see, when they enter Kiev's Olympic Stadium tomorrow evening to go head-to-head with Italy.
One thing is for sure, all thoughts of bail-outs and austerity will be on hold for a while.
While waiting to see who wins, I thought I would put some impressions together of what it is like to live in Spain during football championships.
First thing to note - if you live in town, you don't actually have to watch the game. You can tell the moment that Spain scores, by the cheers, hoots and the occasional blast from a "vuvuzela" echoing through the streets. Don't know what a vuvuzela is? It's that famous plastic trumpet used widely in South Africa during football matches, which upset quite a few fans during the FIFA World Cup in 2010, and guess who won that? Yeah!
FIFA World Cup 2010 - he thinks he is a toreador and the car is a bull.
During the day, every other person in the street is wearing red. If they don't have an official "La Roja" t-shirt, anything red will do. Spanish flags are in abundance, on balconies, on cars, in restaurant and shop windows, and even the little local street sweeper has one stuck in his cart (as well as a nifty red cap on his head).
Evenings are a different story. If you walk around while a match is on, the streets are eerily empty and quiet. If you don't know better, you think, "where has everyone gone?" It's something like one of those "end of the world" movies, where you are the only one left alive.
But then, suddenly, Spain scores a goal and the whole town resounds with loud cheers. It seems to be coming from the surrounding buildings themselves, as there is still no one in sight. But its coming from people's apartments, from bars with big flat-screen TVs and from restaurants. (Or worse, the other side scores a goal, and the town vibrates to loud boos).
Spanish fans in a tense moment in the FIFA World Cup 2010
The match ends - and in a lot of cases, Spain wins. The cheers get much louder, the cars in the street hoot repeatedly, fire crackers are thrown about, and there is generally a very happy mayhem everywhere. This goes on for HOURS.
In the occasional example of a loss by Spain, it is, of course, a different story. After the initial loud groans and boos, you can cut the silence with a knife.
Just in case, I think an early night is in order tonight, as it might just get extremely noisy tomorrow night.
If Spain does win, fans will be cooling off in the water fountains in the plaza again, no doubt.