Spanish football fans bewildered by their team’s World Cup 1-0 defeat by Switzerland were focusing their anger last night on a beautiful TV sports presenter whom they accuse of distracting the goalkeeper.
As people back in Spain struggled to take in the result, Sara Carbonero, who had stood on the touchline throughout, asked her shattered boyfriend, Iker Casillas, on live TV: “How did you manage to muck it up?”
The goalie appeared dumbfounded, but many in Spain thought they knew the answer. Carbonero has been voted sexiest journalist in the world. It was she, the fans insisted, who had sapped the strength of the Spain goalkeeper and caused him to fluff what seemed an easy shot.
Carbonero, 25, who works for the Telecinco channel, has been Casillas’s girlfriend since they met at last year’s Confederations Cup in South Africa.
She is famous in Spain for her instant touchline interviews with the stars after big games. Weeks ago, with hopes high that Spain could win the World Cup for the first time, it was disclosed that Carbonero would be in South Africa to cover the tournament.
Doubts were expressed even then. Unlike the England team, esposas y novias (that’s Spanish for WAGs) do not normally accompany the players to the World Cup.
Carbonero was questioned on Telecinco about whether she might prove a distraction to Casillas, who plays for Real Madrid. The brunette presenter replied: “Can I destabilise the team? I think it is nonsense.”
It might not necessarily seem to be so now. Carbonero has become by far the best known of Spain’s own group of WAGs. Her relationship with Casillas has featured regularly in Spain’s tabloid press.
After yesterday’s match, websites were full of angry comments suggesting that Casillas’s mind may have been on “other things”. Others claimed that there had been overconfidence in the Spain camp, ranked alongside Brazil as favourites.
Casillas could only remark: “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know if this defeat will have consequences. The dressing room is fed-up.”
Any gloating England fans watching in Spain were swiftly reminded that Robert Green’s mistake allowed the United States to equalise in last Saturday’s match. Javier Oms, a journalist in Barcelona, said: “You may be laughing but how did England mess up so badly?”
As Spain went into mourning, horns sounded in the streets of Geneva, strangers hugged each other and the beer flowed as freely as if the Swiss team had already won the World Cup itself. Not even the torrential rain could dampen spirits.
Students took a celebratory dip in the lake. Businessmen and women in Berne and Zurich left their offices early to settle in for a night of celebratory drinks.
In parliament, proceedings were suspended with 15 minutes of the game remaining so that the historic triumph could be witnessed.
One student, Stefan Muet, 23, said: “Switzerland is the happiest nation on Earth. We have beaten the favourites. We can now go on to win the tournament. Anything’s possible now.”
[article from: www.thetimes.co.uk