World Cup in Mexico: Fútbol, ¡Sí!

Everyone in Mexico was watching the World Cup during June and July.  Walking down the street, cheers or moans could be heard emanating from every restaurant or store.  The excitement was, of course, the highest when the Mexican team played.  All work stopped.  At our worksites, televisions were turned on and everyone went to watch the games together.   Many employees painted their faces with the colors of the Mexican flag – red, white and green.  Every time, the Mexican players got anywhere near the goal, wild cheers could be heard, hoping against hope that a goal would be scored.  When a goal was actually scored, the horns and shouts were almost deafening as they celebrated the achievement. 

For the game between Mexico and Argentina, six of us Peace Corps volunteers (Martha, Elizabeth, Paul, Gerry, Charles and me) were together in San Luis Potosí, a city about 5 hours north of Mexico City.   Mexico had advanced to the Group of 16 round, but was facing Argentina, the team that had ended Mexico’s chances to advance to the quarterfinals in 2006.   While most Mexicans realized the odds of Mexico winning were small, the enthusiasm for the team didn’t diminish. 

Where would be the best place to watch the game?  An Irish pub, of course.  We arrived early to stake out our table and get our horns and other noisemakers provided by the Mexican beer company, Corona.  As the game started, the excitement in the room was palpable.  We all believed that anything was possible.  However, by half-time the Argentines had a 2-0 lead.  Shortly after returning from half-time, they scored again.  The mood was definitely solemn as the Mexican team faced a 3-0 score.  Then in the 71st minute of the game, Javier Hernández, the star of the Mexican team, scored a goal.  The room erupted in shouts, horns and merriment.  Even though their chances of winning were slim, for a moment all of Mexico was cheering enthusiastically for its team.  

However, it was not to be.  Mexico’s chances to advance to the next round ended that day, but we Peace Corps volunteers had enjoyed being part of the Mexican excitement for its soccer team.

As you may be able to tell from my article, I’m (Juliet) a soccer fan and here are eight reasons why I like the game: 

  1. Anything is possible.  A team can score a goal in the 90th minute of play to win the game.
  2. Anyone can play the game, since only a ball and a place to play are needed.  No fancy or expensive equipment is required.  For that reason, boys and girls, men and women from almost every country in the world play the sport.
  3. The technical skill and athleticism required to move the ball around the field.  Some of the players run almost non-stop for 45 minutes, which takes a lot of endurance.
  4. When the teamwork between players shows through beautifully-executed passes causing a goal to be scored.  It takes a lot of practice to make those passes look easy.
  5. When a goalie is successful in saving a goal from the opposing team.
  6. The rules are pretty easy to learn, so you can watch a game and know what´s happening and why.
  7. How fans in countries around the world rally around their teams.  During their countries´ games, all work stops and everyone is focused on the game.  At least that´s true in Mexico.
  8. The World Cup is the world´s biggest sporting tournament, including countries from all over the world.  How can we call baseball´s tournament the World Series, when only the United States participates!

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One Response to “World Cup in Mexico: Fútbol, ¡Sí!”

  1. Alan Says:

    Also well said . . . though for the US, I have to agree with Charlie. And the last sentence needs a question mark. 🙂

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