Spain to get something to sing about
Does singing along to a rousing national anthem boost you teams chances of sporting success? Some Spanish sportspeople obviously think so as they have asked the countrys Olympic Committee to come up with some words for the national anthem, La Marcha Real.
While England belt out God Save the Queen before their matches, and France link arms for an emotional chorus of the Marseillaise, la Furia Roja hum or tra, la, la, along to the wordless Spanish anthem.* Well, everyone except Luis Aragones who sings along with his own mysterious lyrics.
Back in 2003 there was a diplomatic incident when the wrong national anthem was played before Spains Davis Cup final against Australia. The then sports minister ordered the team not to start until they had received an apology after the old republican anthem was played by a lone trumpeter in the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
Apparently the error came about because the performer had been given the wrong CD of national anthems. Spain went on to lose the Davis Cup final, though how much that had to do with the anthem gaffe remains doubtful.
PS: The British national anthem has the same tune as that of Liechtenstein, which caused confusion when the two sides met in qualification for Euro 2004. One observer quipped that the supporters were dismayed because they did not know which one to boo.
Simon Baskett, Madrid
* Actually, it goes more like Dum-dum Dum-dum Da-dum-da-da-da Da-da-da-da. There’s a link to play it at the bottom of the page here.