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Efan Ekoku Commits Commentary Flub in Spain Game on ESPN

When Martin Tyler and co-commentator Efan Ekoku did their preparation work for the 2010 World Cup, one thing they definitely didn’t study was the national anthem of Spain. Not that we expect them to, but when Efan Ekoku was sharing his analysis during Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final between Germany and Spain, he committed a minor flub.

In the 24th minute of the game, Ekoku shared the interesting observation that none of the Spanish players sung the national anthem during the quarter-final match against Paraguay. Except, for the fact that the Spanish national anthem is one of the few in the world that has no lyrics!

Even though “La marcha real” (“The Royal March”) has no lyrics, words have been written for it in the past, but the national anthem has been played without lyrics since 1978 when the lyrics that had been approved by General Franco were abandoned.

Here the transcript of the commentary by Martin Tyler and Efan Ekoku, which shows that Tyler didn’t realize the national anthem contained no words either.

Martin Tyler (MT): “There is one other aspect, and this group [of Spanish players] certainly dispelled it, they have had divisions in the camp… Spain teams in the past through the political divisions in the country. Still there in the football rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid. But at least there, between the players, they’ve realized they’ve got to get on it together.”

Efan Ekoku (EE): “Certainly not on the surface, but an interesting note I sort of recognized the other day, in the quarter-finals I think it was, was that none of the players sung the national anthem.”

MT: “But they wouldn’t be alone in that, because they might have more reason…”

EE: “…not to, yeah…”

MT: “That’s a good point, Efan. Well made.”

In fairness to Ekoku and Tyler, it’s impossible to know everything about the 32 participating teams in the country. Ekoku made a mistake and presumed that the Spaniards neglected to sing the national anthem for other reasons other than the fact that the song has no words. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s still an embarrassing flub especially if you’re a Spain supporter.


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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