A Mexican’s World Cup Primer

No, it has nothing to do with Tequila shots or other such truck but rather a historical retrospective.

Mexicans get soccer fed to us in our baby bottles

I made this statement to an American friend a couple of years ago. Many will say that it is a generalization and perhaps be insulted by it. A Mexican-American chap who heard it certainly was and let it be known just how offended he was. The fact that he neither was born and spent most of his childhood living in México made his overreaction a little bit less credible.

My native land hosted the 1986 World Cup and I remember it vividly. Anyone remember the borderline offensive mascot, Pique?

[found the pic at:  http://degenerasian.blogspot.com/]

The memories are bittersweet because while Manuel Negrete’s strike made an indelible impression on my mind, the loss against ze Germans in the quarterfinals broke my young Tri-loving heart.

Over the years, we moved to America and my interest in soccer waned as it had to compete with American football, baseball and basketball. Yet every four years I was drawn to the world’s biggest sporting event, The World Cup. I have soaked in every WC since ’86, and followed especially close those in which my beloved Tri took part of. (All of them since ’86 except for Italy ’90).

I pined in ’94 to go watch them live but alas it was not to be. We are but 2 weeks away from the start of South Africa 2010 and like many of my compatriots living in all corners of the world, I am giddy with excitement.

Yet this anticipation is tempered by the ghost of México in World Cups past. Like many Mexicans I take a hopeful pessimism approach into each World Cup. Yes, the squad is a solid one with great potential but let us not set our sights too high.  Otherwise we will be disappointed if El Tri comes crashing down like cadet Juan Escutia at the Battle of Chapultepec.

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162 Years and Counting…

Ever since General Scott and his few good men made martyrs out of 6 Mexican cadets 162 years ago, Americans have not won anything in México City.

Here’s a lithograph depicting the American victory at Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War.

Battle of Chapultepec

As painful as it is for most Mexicans to remember that tragic loss, it is equally joyous to celebrate , in a lesser realm of course, México’s victory over Team USA in a World Cup qualifying match at Estadio Azteca last Wednesday (I know it’s been a week but this post has been marinating).

Needless to say, I love my adoptive country, these United States of America but when it comes to fútbol, my heart will always be with my beloved Tricolor.

Which is why I thoroughly enjoyed Team USA’s inability to win in México City, those of you who like numbers here is Team USA’s record there: 0 wins, 23 losses, 1 tie.

Before talking about the match I’d like to point out the shameless behavior of some Mexican fans during the contest. Sports Illustrated reporter Grant Wahl was doused with beer and shown double rods by one of my thoughtless and classless paisanos. Mexican nemesis Landon Donovan was doused with various bodily fluids as he was preparing to take a corner kick (below right)

Classless

Queridos compadres,
Vayan al Coloso, pónganse la verde, grítenle la porra de Jalisco al Pato Howard, pero por el amor de Dios no hagan el tipo de cosas que nos hacen ver mal a todos nosotros y que causen que unos escriban este
tipo de idioteces.

Wahl handled the classlessness of some Mexicans with class, the same cannot be said of the writer of the cited link.

On to the match…

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México’s Nigerian Nightmare Signs with AC Milan

Oguchi Onyewu, the man who has done more damage to México since Gen. Winfield Scott, has been signed by AC Milan, one of the premier fútbol/football/soccer clubs in the world.

Whereas Gen. Scott stormed Chapultepec Castle and unintentionally gave us Mexicans one of our most beloved, if not over-romanticized,heroes, Onyewu, Team USA’s world-class central defender, has been terrorizing Mexican strikers and forwards since 2004.

Here he is abusing another one of my native country’s over-romanticized heroes, striker Jared Borghetti,
Oguchi Onyewu

Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

Onyewu, who is of Nigerian descent, has been a huge reason why México has not figured out Team USA in nearly a decade (at least on American soil).

While playing with the Rossoneri will make Gooch (as Onyewu is affectionately called) even more formidable, and this bodes ill for my beloved Tri, the signing is well-deserved. His recent performance in the Confederations Cup (especially against Spain) showed that he is world-class.