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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 19:00 GMT 20:00 UK

Struggle for sense

By Rodrigo Amaral
BBC Sport Online

Mexicans were left ruminating over what went wrong after being knocked out of the World Cup by the United States.

Javier Aguirre's team lost 2-0 in their second-round meeting in Jeonju despite qualifying as the best-placed team in their group.

After convincing wins over Croatia and Ecuador and a strong-showing in a 1-1 draw against Italy, Mexico ran out of steam.

And after the expectation created by their impressive group form, pundits and reporters were left struggling to make sense of the unexpected defeat to the oldest and fiercest rivals.

"The dream is over," sports newspaper La Aficion said. It descirbed the defeat as "slow and painful".

"The Mexicans had neither imagination nor ideas to break the America's extraordinary game plan," it added.

El Universal expressed the extra pain caused by a defeat in a sport in which the Mexicans are supposedly superior to their bigger neighbours.

"Mexico have suffered the most painful of defeats," the newspaper said.

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