World Cup Qualifying

A closer look at Mexico's reaction to USMNT's victory over Panama

Costa Rica Mexico Soccer Wcup


Rafa Marquez may have had next to nothing to say about the U.S. Men’s National Team’s late-game heroics in Panama that saved Mexico’s World Cup hopes, but Mexican media had more than enough.

A day after the U.S. came from behind to post a 3-2 victory over Panama that saved arch-rivals El Tri from avoiding a disastrous World Cup qualification elimination, several news outlets in Mexico expressed what seemed like eternal gratitude for the Americans on Wednesday. Multiple major Mexican newspapers had covers thanking the U.S. and accompanied those messages by plastering the face of many of Mexico’s frustrations in this round of qualifying, struggling forward Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.

Mexican outlet MedioTiempo.com joined in on the fun, posting a comical cartoon on Wednesday morning of an amused American parent snatching the golden ticket to next month’s two-legged play-off out of his heartbroken Panamanian son’s hands and handing it to his teary-eyed but relieved infant Mexican son while saying, ‘Here you go. Don’t cry. Who’s my spoiled child? Huh? Who?’. The title of the cartoon: Good Daddy.

None of that may compare, however, to the in-game commentary that took place on a Mexican broadcast as the U.S. scored twice in stoppage to eliminate Panama and keep El Tri alive just when they seemed to be doomed for an embarrassing exit from qualifying. TV Azteca announcer Christian Martinoli goes on a loud rant after Graham Zusi scores the 92nd-minute equalizer for the U.S., praising the Americans’ skill and attitude and saying that they are the best team in CONCACAF, all while lambasting the Mexico head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich and his players.

For those who do not speak Spanish, Deadspin provided a full translated transcript of Martinoli’s epic commentary that rivals the Honduras call in 2009 that came as Jonathan Bornstein scored a last-gasp equalizer in a qualifier vs. Costa Rica to push the Catrachos through to the 2010 World Cup.

U.S. Soccer may not be a Mexican outlet, but it is also worth noting that its Twitter feed began to comically poke fun at its southern rivals after the conclusion of Tuesday night’s dramatic matches. One tweet that said “#YoureWelcomeMexico” was even sent to the Mexican national team’s official Twitter handle.


What do you think of Mexico’s reaction to advancing to a two-legged play-off because of the U.S.? Which is your favorite cover, image or moment out of the ones listed above? Planning on bragging about this to your Mexican friends for years to come?

Share your thoughts below.

    • Neruda

      Whoops. Was going to say that even though the the US saved Mexico in soccer nobody can save the US from going delinquent on its debts. It’s a wierd day because were all so happy with the state of US Soccer but the political situation is just the opposite and theirs no savior unless our leaders get it together today.


      • divers suck

        Perhaps YOU should go to those political forums to air your frustrations. NOT a soccer forum!!!!!…….Bottom line, the USA is the reason why Mexico still even has a chance at Brazil 2014.


      • Kevin

        This is so typical of Americans to mix politics, economies, race, ect. in soccer. Seriously stop making us look bad.


  • recovered amishman

    ticket to WC qualifier- $50
    hotel/airfare- $500
    watching el Tri eat humble pie- priceless


      • louis z

        going to Mexico City is only 285 round trip. add hotel for 2 days at 100 a night, there is your 500 bucks, $50 tickets are way up in the rafters.


    • KillerInstinct

      I am not sure about “humble” when asking Rafa Marquez what he thought about the U.S. helping their chances of making the W.C. he pretty much dismissed the notion and walked away from the interviwer…Typical Marquez…Cocky and arrogant…its this mentaltiy that has plagued the Mexican federation and their fan base, and which now they are paying the price. It’s not only that Mexico blows, but that CONCACAF as a region has gotten better.


      • milkshake of despair

        One could argue it’s the cocky and arrogant attitudes that got them through in the past. Marquez is old school remember. Mexico’s always been cocky and arrogant. If anything, they’ve gone soft. They now shake our hands after the games and apologize for poorly timed tackles and so on. MLS plays a role in all this IMO.

        But hey, it’s working for us, which is good enough for me. And they’ll be back soon enough. If not for Brazil, then for WCQ for Russia.


    • bryan

      “GOOOOAAAAAAL The US of A PUTS us in the playoffs!!!!!” USA!

      “It is because of the USA that we are being placed in the playoff …BECAUSE OF THEM , NOT DUE TO YOU..NOT ANY OF YOU in the green shirts ….IT WAS THEM!!.NOT YOU!..THEY DID IT!!!!!NOT YOU! remember this forever….. KEEP THIS CLEARLY IN MIND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! You do NOTHING for the shirt, you do NOT put the effort, you have NOTplaced us in the playoffs , you HAVE NOT placed us in the WORLD CUP ..YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KEPT US ALIVE….IT WAS ESTADOS UNIDOS, NOT YOU.! .NOT YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE/CONCEIT…..NOT YOU AND YOUR INFAMY….NOT YOU AND YOUR MORONS/PUNKS….
      “IT IS A FAILURE…..and UNDESERVED -to go through to the playoff- WE HAD NO ARGUMENTS to earn the playoffs, THE USA, WITH SUBS , WITH MANY SUBS as the visiting team shows us once again what the USA is all about ….how to play the game with dignity, how to approach the sport..MExico is a horror, just terrible….A FAILURE….
      THE USA HAS SURPASSED US ..They are better than Mexico in SOCCER ….THEY EVEN HAVE THE LUXURY OF PLAYING THEIR SUBS and KEEPING US LIVE…. I hope our coach wears the pants and resigns..He has failed as coach….”


      • KGB


        I watched the video, which is TOTALLY worth watching even if you aren’t fluent. His frustration is so palpable, it is incredible.

        It’s like an action movie where the hero & villain fight the entire film, but when the villain is hanging off the edge of a cliff, the hero extends his hand and saves him, not because the villain deserves it, but because it’s the right thing to do.


      • Swish

        I speak almost zero Spanish and it was completely awesome. Maybe even better without the translation.


      • Tony in Quakeland

        This makes it worthwhile. I listened live, but my Spanish is minimal and he was too excited for me to grasp. But whoa, this is amazing


      • bryan

        no problem, i pulled it from the bigsoccer link someone posted. this guy just rips them a new one!


      • Chupacabra

        At the next US/Mexico match, this should be played over the PA in place of the Mexican national anthem.


  • Michael V

    Maybe for the 1st time ever I could careless about the Mexican’s reaction. We had a job to do and we did it. México had a job to do and they did it even if it left something to be desired. MX still aren’t out of the woods. Maybe I’ve turned a new lead over. I think we Americans, myself included, spend way too much time looking over our shoulders and worrying about what Mexico is doing and/or thinking. We have bigger fish to fry and our focus now turns to the WC not MX.


    • Paul6

      mexico did not do their job… unless losing has officially become what they are taking the field for..


    • John

      After the snow match, “no fair play USA” and so on. Do we start to ask the question, is Costa Rica our new Concacaf rival?


      • Neruda

        At least for this round of qualifying hex the answer has to be yes. I now think what if the US plays CR at the WC instead of Mexico (it won’t happen) and how pumped we’d be for our team to destroy the ticos.


    • Al_OC

      But this is what a rivalry is all about, isn’t it? Yes, you do care for your team, but you also rejoice when your arch rival is not doing well. This is true in every sport, not just soccer.


  • Reid

    I know its off topic, but going to a wedding this weekend 45 min north of Atlanta, wondering if there are any soccer bars/pubs where I could catch a match. Never been to Atlanta or a 12hr Indian wedding so thought I should atleast have a match to watch in the AM prior to, seeing that its going to be a long day.
    I will have a car so I don’t mind driving at least some distance.



  • Modibo

    While the reaction is based on a lot of built-up frustration in Mexico and with good reason, it’s funny to think about what that reaction would be like if Friday night’s and Tuesday night’s results had been reversed.

    Imagine if Mexico lost to CRC and the US tagged Panama in a shocker to set up a Mexico-Panama showdown with the US in a relatively meaningless game against the Reggae Boyz. All eyes would have turned to the Azteca, with a sideways glance at the Hondurans in San Pedro Sula. Mexico would be struggling to break down Panama, only to find a savior nailing an 85th minute bicycle.

    No talk of Uncle Sam, no Zusi reverence, no mics in Rafa’s face. Instead, a late-minute hero, massive headlines, the whole 9 yards.

    But it didn’t happen that way. Funny how life works. Granted, there would still be lots for the Mexican media and fans to pick apart, but what a difference in momentum there might have been for them – qualifying with an optimistic bang instead of backing in in spite of a humiliating loss to a team with nothing to play for, and being saved by another team with nothing to play for. Weird.


    • Isaac

      This is a brilliant post that drives right at the core of human nature… What does that commentator have to say then? Heh. Fascinating.


  • beto

    reading and looking at these links makes me smile from ear to ear!

    Take it stride and style US fans!


  • SilverRey

    Did anyone else notice that Guillermo Ochoa was dressed up as Mickey Mouse? I really think they just aren’t taking it seriously anymore…


  • MikeG

    The US only gave Mexico the option for a playoff game against New Zealand. Time to check stats and scout New Zealand. You cannot rely only on stats, but stats do not lie. Scouting New Zealand for intangibles too.


  • Bac

    Ok, all 4 of these articles are good about how we saved Mexico blah blah blah…

    I’d like to see some Players Ratings and in depth analysis from Ives on how we finished up the last 2 games and what we may see going forward into the next friendlies and January camp…….

    Let’s get to more important stuff… like OUR U.S. team…..


    • Drewbles

      Yeah, and we need these the day after the previous qualifier because there’s just not enough time between now and January to waste on this kind of story.

      If you’re not enjoying the lambasting the Mexican team is receiving from their own press, then don’t click the link and read the story.


  • YesItsNate

    And yet – it’s still a home and home playoff.

    Here in the U.S., we are all very familiar with the rigors and difficulties of playing in the Azteca. Naturally, we will all see this as a big advantage for our Mexican ‘lil cousins.

    However, take into account that this particular Mexican squad doesn’t travel very well. Moreover, New Zealand is FAR away, has a different climate and environment to the ones that the Mexicans are use to. The Kiwi’s are going to be fired up and their National Stadium may not be the Azteca, but I assure you this will not be a comfortable affair for Mexico.

    If the draw has Mexico at home first, they better BURY the Kiwi’s in the first leg. Otherwise they are going to find themselves with a LONG flight back to Mexico City with only a 30 day delay to the shaming of missing Brasil.


  • PD

    I seem to remember not too long ago (what, 12 months past?) that many of us US soccer fans were concerned that the Golden Generation of Mexico was going to surpass what’s been building here in the USA. I seem to recall that Grant Wahl even wrote an online column saying as much. But, fortunes and form of play can turn and there is no denying that Mexico has hit the skids in a major, major way.

    But let’s not forget that once we’re all in Brazil (and I’m still betting money Mexico will limp in), it’s a clean slate. Unless they pull a France and self-implode once they are there, this will become a clean slate and they’ll have every opportunity to turn the page. If and when they do, they will be be a dangerous team with a lot of skill and professional pedigree … and probably a CONCACAF-sized chip on their shoulder to boot. Similarly, no one will remember the unprecedented success of the USA’s qualifying campaign if this team doesn’t make it to the quarterfinals, regardless of how likely that may be (the tournament draw will determine the odds of that happening by quite a lot).

    So yes, Mexico are lucky SOB’s today. But we’d be foolish to write off El Tri because of this campaign until they are dead and buried by New Zealand, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, the odds of that are slim.

    Still and all, I feel bad for Panama.


    • SD

      I agree….I do think Mexico has enough to be NZ…..unless NZ is going to spend the next month in mexico city, i don’t imagine they will do well there….And I don’t think mexico will adapt well to the travel to NZ…..so I think Mexico will win at home and hang on tight on the road…


    • Paul Miller

      On paper, this Mexican side is solid. But ‘paper’ doesn’t account for the idiocy of resorting to English tactics. There’s a reason England underachieves the quality of its individual players. When everyone in the stadium knows your target is supposed to turn and score, that one player is pretty easy to contain.


    • YesItsNate

      Don’t forget that if/when Mexico gets to Brazil, it will be with a new manager assuredly.


  • Will Smith

    New Zealand was the only undefeated team in the last world cup. I don’t think Mexico will assume it will be a walkabout.


      • FSegaud

        You sure about that??? I think it is a draw only if you go to PK’s.


      • YesItsNate

        You’re right FS, it’s only a draw in elimination matches if you ended with the same score after extra time and go to PKs.


    • chuck

      Also, as much as I hate it will most likely will be a walkabout. NZL has never faced such adverse conditions, it’ll be like Mexico facing Bermuda at home: an island nation with players from lower leagues facing a giant crowd and a choking altitude and unbreathable air. They’ll be lucky to allow less that two.

      Unfortunately, but I doubt they can overcome whatever happens in the Azteca for the return leg.

      On the other hand, if Mexico blunders the first leg, it’ll be epic. Alas, unlikely.


  • Ted in MN

    There’s an SNL skit in Jorge & Julio Dely Valdes’ reactions to the goal given up.


  • Mike R

    All I know is if the show was on the other foot…
    Mexico would have played lackadaisically and probably would have lost on purpose to spite the US.
    Also Panam deserved it more they played with more heart.

    Go New Zealand !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      • ARTES

        Mexico would not be allowed to play not to win. In previous qualifications they have sent most of their starters. They are always looking out for media and fan reaction.


    • Gary Page

      Panama had a 2-1 lead, at home, with 8 minutes to go. If you don’t win then, you don’t deserve to go anywhere. Panama didn’t really play all that well either during the Hex. It can be said that neither Panama or Mexico deserved to go. I feel sorry for Baloy who was truly outstanding and is surely too old to go next time even if they qualify.


  • inkedAG

    That rant was epic!

    In fairness, every team has their ups and downs and qualifying is never guaranteed. Every team benefits from results; either their own or someone else’s.


    • Bubba

      In fairness, there are levels of benefits that a team gets from others during qualifying. The US got very little. El Tri got A LOT as they did NOTHING that warrants advancing from the Hex, rather they only move forward with a chance of qualifying sue to the US rally. Like I said, levels of benefits.


  • Kevin

    Not surprised by the rant from announcer Christian Martinoli when I found out he was Argentinean. Those guys really do hate Mexico.


    • RB

      Don’t think so: his mother is Mexican, he is also Mexican, he has studied and lived in Mexico for years. This isn’t Argentine criticism of the Mexican team.


      • chuck

        His usual narrating style is VERY mexican, so I dont think him having argentine heritage counts too much towards his opinion. Vucetich is also half argebtine btw.

        The comments are more in the line that the competing TV network is too involved in the business of the MxNT so their commentators keep praising the commercially-involved players like Chicharito no matter what.

        Martinolli’s comment also represents the other side of mexican fandom ideology, hating the rich and famous players because since they have ‘everything’, they are mandated to deliver.


  • John

    Theres also video of Chicharito celebrating the Zusi goal on the side line. Say what you will about him at least he cares. If I were Carlos Vela I would never show my face in Mexico again.


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