People forget that Spain’s 2006 defeat to Northern Ireland at Windsor Park was a turning point for the team and made their European and World Cup run possible.
The game, played on September 6, 2006, resulted in a 3-2 victory for Northern Ireland over the Spaniards, and is considered to be one of Northern Irish football’s proudest moments.
It also marked the low point for Spain.
Spain coach Luis Aragones and his players were ridiculed back home.
The defeat was labelled as an “embarrassment” by the Spanish media, and forced the Spanish team and players to reevaluate their level of performance and tactics.
Following that defeat the team has never looked back and won the European championship.
And while the Spanish national team has traditionally faltered in the World Cup, this time their campaign has been successful. They face the Netherlands in this Sunday’s World Cup finals and expectations are high that the team can beat the Dutch to walk away with their first ever World Cup.
If they do, perhaps they’ll have Northern Ireland to thank for their success.
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”