Monday, June 23, 2014
Team Mexico is off to a Good Start at the World Cup in Brazil
By Allan Wall
My family and I
are currently visiting Mexico. It's our annual summer visit.
I resided a decade and a half in Mexico, where I was an English teacher. There I met my wife, and we later
had two sons. Several years ago I had an offer to teach Spanish in the United States, so we moved to the
U.S. We continue to visit Mexico at Christmastime and during the summer. It's a
good way to keep in touch with my wife's family, with Mexico and with the metropolitan area in which we formerly resided.
Our two sons are bilingual, speaking English and
Spanish, and they sound like native speakers in each language. And they are able to spend time with their
maternal grandparents during our visits, and do other interesting things.
There are a number of things going on in Mexico, including energy reform negotiations in Congress and legislative
elections in some states. But what most people care about now is the World Cup, which takes place once
every four years.
Right now, the World Cup of soccer
is going on and that's the big deal in Mexico. See my previous Mexidata column, entitled
"Mexico is on its way to the 2014 World Cup Games in Brazil," which explains the World Cup even for readers who don't know anything about it. (I knew almost nothing
about it before I moved to Mexico.)
One thing I've
noticed here during this World Cup is that games are being shown in movie theaters. Spectators can go to
the cinema and pay for a particular World Cup game and watch it in the theater as you would a movie.
Mexicans are excited about their national team which represents them in Brazil, and thousands of Mexican fans have
gone to Brazil to cheer them on. Some of them wear outlandish costumes, including big sombreros. (Some
Mexicans complain about Mexican sombrero stereotypes, but watch Mexican soccer fans at a game and ask, "Who is doing
So far, the Mexican team has done
well. Its first game was against the West African nation of Cameroon. That game was held on the second
day of the World Cup, on June 13th, Friday the 13th. (According to Hispanic superstition, the unlucky day
is Tuesday the 13th, not Friday the 13th as in the Anglo-Saxon world; though in recent years Hollywood has spread the Friday
the 13th superstition to Mexico.)
superstition anyone observed Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0. The winning point was scored by Oribe Peralta, a
native of the village of La Partida near Torreon in the Laguna region of northern Mexico. An interesting
thing about that game was that it was raining throughout the whole game.
Team Mexico faced its second challenge on June 17th. This game was against Brazil, a formidable opponent for
several reasons. Not only did Brazil have the home field advantage, but after all, this was Brazil –
the most successful World Cup soccer team in history. Brazil has won five World Cups, more than any other
So, although Mexico has beaten Brazil
before (in the 2012 Olympics, for example, see here http://www.mexidata.info/id3431.html), you never want to take a game with Brazil for granted.
The result: in a hard-fought soccer game, the two teams wound up in a tie, 0 to 0. Neither team
scored. This felt like a victory for the Mexican fans.
Of course, a scoreless tie is an indication of very good defense, and in soccer the goalies are responsible for much
Team Mexico owed a lot that day to frizzy-haired
goalie Guillermo Ochoa, born in Guadalajara. They got their money's worth out of Ochoa, who again and
again had to stop the soccer ball from scoring for Brazil.
in all, it was like a victory for Mexico. If you can walk out of a Brazilian stadium not having been beaten
by Brazil, you've done well.
game is scheduled for today, June 23rd, when Team Mexico faces Croatia, in the Arena Pernambuco Stadium in Recife, Brazil.
Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico
for many years. His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.