KAUNAS (2012 FIBA U17 World Championship) - There was a bit more national pride for Spain when they took the court against Canada on Tuesday morning at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship. It was the first time they had played since watching their nation's footballers capture the Euro 2012 title Sunday night.
After their victory over Lithuania on Sunday, the Spanish U17 team and coaching staff gathered in the lobby of the team hotel to watch Spain beat Italy 4-0 to become the first team in history to repeat their European title and the first to win three major tournaments in a row.
"We had not hoped that Spain would win that easy, but the game was incredible. Spain played great futbol," said Spain U17 coach Alejandro Martinez.
"When we saw that Italy gave up after the second goal everybody relaxed. We were really happy after it was 2-0 and it was amazing after it was 3-0. We had a big party at the hotel."
"We enjoyed the game very much, also watching it together as a team. We went back to our rooms very happy," said Spain's Agusti Sans.
After the game the players were waiting for another highlight.
"In the rooms we were waiting for (Spanish keeper Iker) Casillas to kiss Sara Carbonero like at the (2010) World Cup," said Agusti, referring to Casillas's girlfriend and presenter for Spanish TV channel Telecinco.
Martinez said the Euro title was needed for his people back home as they deal with harsh times.
"This really will help our country that has big economic problems. The people need something to cheer about. It was a good moment. And then Monday the problems were back but for three or four hours everybody was happy," said Martinez.
The Spanish players in Lithuania however still have plenty to be happy about, especially after improving to 3-1 in Group B following their 91-83 defeat of the Canadians to open play on Day 5 of the tournament.