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For Mexico fans, near upset in World Cup too good to be true

Once more, World Cup-induced pain in Mexico

For many Mexico fans, it seemed clear what would happen.

The historic fatalism of fans of the national team and the swelling maybe-too-good-to-be-true feeling that this team was destined to go farther than before crashed at a familiar intersection of the World Cup.

Mexico was once again eliminated early in the knockout round, disappointing thousands of fans who had crammed Mexico City's Zocalo square, and depriving them of a chance to celebrate a historic victory.

Ahead 1-0 at Fortaleza stadium in Brazil with just minutes left, fans saw the Dutch team stage a comeback to win, 2-1. On social media, many Mexican fans essentially said, I knew it.

Images were plastered on Twitter and other social media of fans in football-induced pain. One image: a solitary Mexican fan still sitting in the stands in sweltering heat that led to the first official cooling break in a World Cup match, his head in one hand and the Mexican flag in the other.

In Mexico City, there were a few fights, but no serious violence was reported.

Hundreds of fans showed up at the Angel of Independence monument, a "sad celebration," according to the Reforma newspaper. They sang in support of their team, which had gained broad praise for its gritty play, and particularly for goalkeeper Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa.

Coach Miguel Herrera, whose nickname is "El Piojo," or "the flea," lamented the loss, telling reporters that the team wasted an opportunity to beat the curse of not being able to get past the quarterfinals.

President Enrique Peña Nieto thanked the team and said the country would "never stop believing in you."

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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