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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
The worst of defeats
Mexican fans react during while watching the match on television
Mexican fans urge their team on

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At the weekend the morning temperature in Mexico City was in the high 70s.

Paradoxically it is bright and sunny 24 hours on, but at least 12 degrees cooler.

There is a perceptable chill in the wind and it is coming from the north.

The absence of car horns honking in the early hours of the morning, flags streaming out of car windows and rowdy celebrations at the giant Angel of Independence monument, said it all.

Mexico are out of the World Cup.

Open Quote
Poor Mexico - so far from God and so close to the United States
Close Quote
Porfirio Diaz
But it is worse than that. Mexico are out having lost to their giant neighbour, the United States of America.

More than 600,000 US citizens live and work in Mexico.

Following the match few are turning up to work and the US Embassy's portals are barred for business.

Sometimes in Mexico people concede: "I don't like Mondays," and do not bother to get up.

It's grinningly refered to in slang as "San Lunes".

This particular Monday, Americans are taking no chances.

Although it is perhaps an over-cautious reaction, the disappointment is great and aggressive media commentators are dishing out bile.

Of the more reflective, some said that Javier Aguirre's men had not learned their lesson having outplayed Italy only to concede a late goal in their final group game.

They were certainly caught cold by Brian McBride's early goal in Jeonju.

Others said the United States played a more physical game and performed more athletically against a sluggish Mexico.

A Mexican fan breaks down as the result becomes apparent
It was all too much for some fans
The disappointment in the face of Mexico's footballing superstar Hugo Sanchez reflected that of the country.

Now the manager of Pumas Football Club and a television commentator, Sanchez's response was simple: "This is a very sad day."

Before the World Cup Sanchez told BBC Sport Online that he wants to become national coach one day.

He also stressed that many more talented Mexican players need to play abroad in more competitive leagues to help future World Cup campaigns.

At the end of this latest World Cup adventure the plaudits are absent and the green shirts have already been put away.

Success has many fathers. Defeat is an orphan.

The sheer disbelief and disappointment after world class performances against Croatia, Ecuador and Italy is only slowly sinking in.

It might best be summed up by the words of Porfirio Diaz, a long-time Mexican dictator who was finally deposed in the 1910 Revolution.

"Poor Mexico. So far from God, so close to the United States."


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