MADRID - Spaniards blasted off fireworks and jumped for joy after their football team won the European Championship on Sunday night, giving the country a burst of national pride and temporary relief from the crushing economic woes that have engulfed the nation.
Tens of thousands gathered in central Madrid to watch their team beat Italy 4-0.
Even better for Spain, the country's team became the first ever to win a Euro, then a World Cup and then another Euro.
"We needed this win to counteract the suffering caused by the crisis, which seems endless," said a smiling Antonio Ferrillo in downtown Madrid.
Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the 17-nation eurozone, is immersed in a deepening recession and recently asked for a bailout to prop up its hurting banks.
Cars drove by with passengers yelling "Espana!, Espana!" and "I am Spanish! I am Spanish!" as they waved the country's red and yellow flag.
The victory gave Spaniards undisputed proof the team is the best in the world, setting off celebrations in all corners of the country.