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Spaniards: Cup 'more important than the economy'

Spain will grind to a halt to watch "La Roja" take on Holland for the World Cup title Sunday. Forget the housing crisis, unemployment, the downgrades, the slumping growth, the metro strikes, the pay cuts and the finger-wagging over debt by the International Monetary Fund and others, or the hamstrung government. Spain, which has never made it to the final of the World Cup before, is in the throes of the biggest sporting event in history for the country, and perhaps one of the biggest marketing events since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

"It's more important than the economy, than potatoes, than olive oil, than [worker] strikes," said Eduardo Lorenzo Conde, a Madrid resident now retired. Conde, who gathers with other older men at a south Madrid train station near his home each morning to chat and read the newspapers, said everyone here has a need for Spain to win.

Indeed, for Spain, La Roja appears to be playing for the very soul of the country. "Jugamos todos," or, "We are all playing," was the headline of one of the free newspapers Que! - MCT

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