Euro Cup Madness Reaches Fever Pitch

The final of the European Championship takes place on Sunday, and if sales of jerseys in New York City are any indication, Spain will overtake Italy for the win.

Zachary Rubin, from retailer Upper 90 Soccer and Sport, has an explanation for the preference." Could be anybody from American to — you have a lot of Hispanic people sort of latch on to Spain when they're playing in a tournament like this, because they're Mexican and Mexico doesn't play in the Euro Cup, so Spain tends to be a favorite of theirs."

It’s not just the teams in the finals that have been big sellers for Euro Cup 2012. Poland, Germany and Ireland’s team jersey have been flying off the shelf.

Defending champs Spain is looking for its third straight major title, as well as give a boost to a country that, in the words of their captain, goalkeeper Iker Casillas, is "in a brutal crisis" — with an economy deep in recession, nearly 1 in 4 Spaniards out of work and banks that need bailing out.

Many soccer fans well head to local bars and restaurants to watch the match-up. Marta Zapardiel, with Centro Espanol La Nacional on West 14th Street, has been hosting match-parties for fans of Spain.

She's expecting the biggest party yet for this afternoon's Final against Italy. “We're gonna have food, and sangria, and Spanish beer. So I think it's gonna be like a huge celebration.”

Only the unpredictable Mario Balotelli and a surprising Italy team - orchestrated by Andrea Pirlo - stand between Spain’s supporters and the celebration on Sunday.

With the Associated Press