Walking to the angel after a big soccer match is a tradition in D.F.
I was a terrible soccer player in junior high. Our team sucked, despite the Italians, Eastern Europeans and Haitians on our squad. Bad coaching I blame. Never scored a goal, maybe had one assist. With that disgraceful past, I´ll tell you straight up: I´m not a huge soccer fan.
But you can´t run around saying that kind of stuff during the World Cup. Kill joy. And besides, I live in Latin America, so as they say, when in Rome…
I went to the Zocalo to participate in the FIFA Fan Fest, an international program put on by the governing body of the World Cup and supported by a bevy of big-ticket sponsors. That´s Cuauhtémoc Blanco on the screen. He´s the elder statesman on the Mexican national team, and one of the heroes of the 2-0 win against France this day. He´s from one of the roughest hoods in D.F. Maybe he´ll retire after this year.
Police presence was welcome. Not too much, not too little.
The disbanded electrical worker´s union used the gathering to continue getting their voices heard.
There were plenty of people taking a day off work or school to witness their national team play. With all the soccer fanaticism running around a place like Mexico, these sorts of mass displays really make a gringo wonder about nationalism and sports.
Of course every Mexican soccer fan has his own team hero. Maybe it´s Giovani dos Santos?
Every country, I assume, has its own sporting rituals. The finger wave is a popular one here.
There´s a generational soccer fandom here that I don´t think exists in the United States. Maybe in the next few decades we´ll get there. The Zocalo was sectioned off into different viewing spaces, one for each jumbo screen.
Of course once Mexico started scoring in the second half, the celebrating began, and didn´t stop until sometime early this morning (around 3 a.m.?)
Now you know the nickname of the player who scored that important second-half first goal against France in the 2010 World Cup.
Once that second goal was scored, sealing the fate of the French, the day turned into a national celebration for Mexico. Dudes were risking their lives waving a flag at soccer fans down on Paseo de la Reforma. Thousands were making their way to the Glorieta del Ángel, the city´s official symbol, which I´m pretty sure was a gift from France. You hear mostly five syllables in a crowd like this (and all day long): Vi-va Me-hi-co