Local fans of Spain celebrate first ever World Cup

MANATEE — Moving like a couple of midfield attackers, Bradenton’s Luis Carbona and Izzy Rivas found a way to watch Spain on a kitchen TV while they prepared pizzas, hoagies and wings at Joey D’s Chicago Style Eatery Sunday afternoon.

The two cooks saw the Spanish soccer team overcome the Netherlands, 1-0, in extra time to earn its first ever World Cup championship.

“We’re from Mexico, but Mexico was knocked out so we root for Spain,” said a beaming Carbona, who chopped a flat piece of beef for a steak hoagie as fast as Andres Iniesta scored for Spain.

Carbona and Rivas were just two of the many fans locally rooting for Spain.

“I love Spain because my brother-in-law is from Ecuador,” said Bradenton’s Tracy Hutter, a certified veterinarian technician at Braden River Animal Hospital, who was eating a calzone at Joey D’s prepared by Carbona and Rivas.

“Spain also has hot players,” she said.

Hutter’s husband, Everett, a meat manager for Winn-Dixie Grocery on 17th Street in Sarasota, said his wife got him out to watch soccer Sunday by telling him there would be cheerleaders on TV.

The table at Joey D’s next to the Hutters is where Debbie Cunningham, of Ruskin, was also rooting hard for Spain.

“I was for Brazil before Brazil lost and my husband is from Nicaragua,” Cunningham said, explaining her allegiance to Spain.

At the Coach and Horses British Pub and Restaurant in Sarasota, Felix Hurtado, who is Colombian, rooted for Spain although his son, Ruben, was a disappointed Dutch fan.

Hurtado, who played semi-pro soccer in Brooklyn, N.Y., in his youth, said the Dutch team employed a strategy that nearly worked.

“In the first half, Holland was resorting to rough tactics to break up the game of the Spaniards, which is ball control,” Hurtado said. “In the second half, the benevolence of the officials ended, and they began handing yellow cards to the Dutch and that evened things up.”

Holland had two open shots that it missed, Hurtado said.

“If they would have scored, they would have won the World Cup,” Hurtado said.

Ruben Hurtado was upset with the Dutch play.

“I don’t think the Dutch played well,” Ruben Hurtado said. “They were just being rough. Their strategy was to try to get it to penalty kicks and win it there, but I think they lost their groove.”

With four minutes left in extra time, Cesc Fabregas found Iniesta on the right wing, and he blasted a shot into the left corner of the Dutch goal.

“I feel Spain showed me a great deal of discipline because the Dutch tactics were to get them off their game, but Spain never diverted from Plan A, to control the ball,” Hurtado said. “That winning goal made a lot of people happy, including myself.”

Not far from Joey D’s, 19-year-old cashier Lauren Rassett, of Lakewood Ranch, was watching on one of the many TVs at Dick’s Sporting Goods on U.S. 41 and Cortez Road.

Rassett played soccer for Lakewood Ranch High School until an injury in her junior year, so she appreciates the skills required for high level soccer.

“Awesome,” Rassett said, as she was surrounded by fellow employees. “I really love Spain.”