MOSCOW — Mexico shocked the world and maybe more so their own countrymen as they defeated reigning world champion Germany 1-0 in their World Cup opener. Mexico played what many considered to be their best 45 minutes ever as they got their biggest result in terms of a World Class rival. Before the game, Mexico had only defeated one ex World Cup winner (France) and never the reigning champion. Mexico fans in Mexico City might have been some of the biggest critics before the match, but they turned to complete joy at the end of the match.
Fans in Mexico City normally go the the Angel de Independencia monument, right in the middle of Paseo de la Reforma, to celebrate when Mexico gets a big result. They were there for the Confederations Cup title in 1999, for the Olympic Gold in 2012 and even for past Mexico wins in the World Cup. But most of them weren’t expecting to do so on Sunday. Mexico was facing the World Cup champions in their World Cup opener. Not only were they facing a team that beat them in the Confederations Cup semifinal in 2017 by a score of 4-1, but the last time they faced Germany in a Group stage of the World Cup, they lost 6-0.
Mexico had given them good games in between, including a second round loss by 2-1 in 1998 where Mexico was the better team. However, that team was in steep decline (they went on to lose the Quarterfinal to Croatia by a score of 3-0). Nothing like this team which is one of the favorites for the title.
Chants of “Mexico, Mexico” and of “Donde estan los alemanes que nos iban a ganar (where are those germans that were going to beat us?”) were the norm. Green national team shirts were everywhere, even on pets. And even Juan Carlos Osorio, Mexico’s coach who has been criticized for most of his tenure, might have won their hearts. There still a long way to go, but nobody will ever take this game away from Mexico fans. They certainly celebrated like they know that.