Ezequiel History lesson IV: Fútbol, the origins of Mexico’s (extreme) dislike for the US team and love for the Brazilian team
Yesterday, I watched the US futbol team narrowly lose (dammit!) to Brazil in the championship game of the Confederations Cup. We were up 2-0 at half-time and I was in a pretty good mood. But for some reason, everyone else in the cafe was looking pretty upset. It was even more intense whenever the US would score and I would clap my hands with satisfaction, while everyone around would glare at me with contempt. But, I guess that’s what I get for being a US fan in Mexico City. Because apparently Mexicans are pretty angry that the US is beating them at their own game, e.g. the US is #1 while Mexico is #2 in the Central and North American division.
Mexicans don’t take this fact lightly. For over 10 years the Mexico team has not won a game against the US. And to make matters worse, one American player is especially despised in Mexico – for amongst other things – taking a leak on the national stadium in Jalisco. This player is Donovan and he was one of the players who I cheered for most when he scored our second goal of Sunday’s game.
So the US was up 2-0 at halftime but the second half was a different story altogether with Brazil scoring 3 goals unanswered to win the game 3-2. Now I was also curious why when each time Brazil scored, the Mexican game-watchers cheered with great enthusiasm. According to Ezequiel, this is because Mexicans love the Brazilian team on average second only to their own.
Why is this? Because during the 1970 World Cup, Mexico had made it to the quarter-finals only to be beat by the Italian team. This same Italian team would later go on to lose in the championship game to Brazil. Now, this is not the only reason why Mexicans in general like the Brazilian team, there is a caveat. Apparently the Brazilian team was especially gracious to its host city Guadalajara during the Cup and even went so far as to thank Mexico for its hospitality. Brazil’s Pelé added to the admiration when he took a Charro (type of Mexican sombrero) and sprinted through the stadium shouting with glee.
So score one for friendly goodwill. And maybe the US should think about adding some to its repertoire for the 2010 World Cup.
Note: Who is Ezequiel? My co-worker. A man of intellectual rigor and fanatical fútbol knowledge. The go-to source for Mexican history and all things related to the foot.