Mexicans celebrate Olympic soccer gold medal
Jubilant Mexicans celebrated their 2-1 Olympic gold medal soccer
win over powerhouse Brazil Saturday, waving flags and chanting in
plazas and streets across the country.
Crowds began gathering not long after the Mexican team scored
its first goal in the first minute of play, with shouts of
”Goal!” ringing out from bars and homes. Fans erupted in massive
celebration as the game ended, marking Mexico’s first ever Olympic
soccer gold medal.
Cheering Mexicans turned the downtowns of Mexico City,
Guadalajara and other cities into street parties. Hundreds of fans
waving the country’s red, white and green flag took a victory lap
around the capital’s landmark Angel of Independence statue, with
traffic shut down on the city’s main boulevard.
”Mexico didn’t let up in the match,” said law student Arturo
Castellanos, who watched in Mexico City’s chic Condesa
neighborhood. ”Even though I was embarrassing myself, I was
screaming all kinds of rude things.”
Ignacio Villegas, 18, took the risk of wearing Brazil’s yellow
jersey while walking through the neighborhood. He said he admired
Brazil’s style of soccer and his grandfather was Brazilian. But he
couldn’t help celebrating his country’s victory.
”Brazil didn’t play as a team although they have nothing but
stars,” he said. ”And Mexico played excellently.”
Mexican President Felipe Calderon called the team’s coach, Luis
Fernando Tena, by telephone to congratulate him on the win.
”I think this is the best period of football that we have had
in a long time: two Under-17 championships, the Pan American
championship and now the Olympic championship,” he told Fernando
according to a transcript of the call released by the
The mood was notably more somber in Brazil, a country known for
its elegant form of soccer but still awaiting its first-ever
Olympic gold medal in the sport. Brazil has won more World Cup
titles than any other country.
Sadness and frustration were clearly etched on the faces of the
nearly 100 beer-drinking fans that packed the Prainha Paulista bar
in the country’s biggest city, Sao Paulo.
”Brazil played horribly,” chemical engineering student Leoncio
Martinez said, turning away from the TV screen. ”The team deserved
to lose, and the Mexicans more than deserved to win.”
In Rio de Janeiro, fans in surfer shorts and bikinis gathered on
the seaside city’s white-sand beaches to watch the game.
People dressed like Brazilian soccer star Neymar posed with
other fans to take pictures before the match, while the Beija-Flor
samba group’s drummers pounded out heavy Carnival rhythms, stoking
the festive atmosphere.
The party didn’t last long.
Mexico’s first goal immediately silenced the crowd and sent the
few Mexican fans on the beach into delirium.
Brazilian fan Rosemary de Oliveira put the best face she could
on the loss.
”I wanted it to be gold, but it doesn’t matter, the most
important is to participate,” she said after the match. ”We won
the silver! Go Brazil!”
Associated Press writers Stan Lehman in Sao Paulo and Renata
Brito in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.