Mexican fans will have to wait to get to ‘fifth game’ at a World Cup
Mexico welcomed a new president Monday, then quickly struggled to come to grips with the fact it still has the same old national soccer team.
A World Cup that began with such promise again ended one match short of the quinto partido — the fifth game — with a 2-0 loss to Brazil. Russia marks the seventh straight World Cup in which Mexico has been eliminated in its fourth game.
As a result, the mood in the nation’s capital, where the game was shown on big screens despite the early-morning kickoff, was both somber and accepting.
“Going into the game, everybody was afraid because Brazil is so good, but then they played well and I thought we had a chance,” said Mexican fan Jhakelyn Becerril, 17, shuffling away from the TV where she watched the match along Mexico City’s main avenue.
Fans clustered together nearby sang a melancholy rendition of the Mexican folk song “Cielito Lindo,” the national team’s unofficial anthem.
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, canta no llores,” they sang in Spanish. A team many considered the best in Mexican history had gotten no farther than the previous six World Cup squads.
In Praca Maua square in Rio de Janeiro, thousands watched the game on a giant screen akin to a drive-in movie theater. People climbed trees to get better views.
Juliana Galvao, a 10-year-old who plays soccer, gushed about the win.
“This means I won’t have school on Friday,” she said. Brazil will play again in the tournament quarterfinals that day.
U.S. official back in the knockout round
MLS referee Mark Geiger hasbeen assigned to work Tuesday’s round-of-16 game between England and Colombia in Moscow. His assistants will be Canadian Joe Fletcher and U.S. referee Frank Anderson. Both are also MLS officials.
The game is Geiger’s third in Russia. He also called an elimination-round game in Brazil four years ago, becoming the first U.S. official to do so.
By the numbers
10: Number of own goals, breaking the World Cup record of six set in 1998.
20: Number of penalty-kick goals. That’s two better than the previous World Cup record for penalty-kick attempts set three times, most recently in 1998.
8-0-1: Brazil’s record in World Cup play against CONCACAF teams. It has allowed a goal in only one of those matches. The lone draw, a scoreless tie, came against Mexico four years ago.
2.47 million: Overall attendance through 54 games, an average of 45,710 per match. That trails the average attendance for the last three World Cups.
143: Number of goals through 52 games, an average of 2.65 per match, making it the second-highest-scoring World Cup since 1998.
228: All-time World Cup goals for Brazil, two more than Germany.
21: World Cup games in Russia that have been scoreless at the half.
1: World Cup games in Russia that have ended scoreless.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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