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Go Mexico ! !

I agree with the guy who's quoted at the end of this article:

"We should always beat them, we should always try to humiliate the gringos."
Match set for Tuesday evening!

Mexican Honor and Olympics on Line vs. U.S.

By ELISABETH MALKIN, NY Times

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 9 — For Mexico's beleaguered people, Tuesday's soccer match between Mexico and the United States in Guadalajara is about much more than winning a place in the Summer Olympics in Athens.

It is about national honor.

To many Mexicans, soccer has become a proxy for all the indignities the country has suffered at the hands of the United States in almost two centuries of independence. During the first century, the United States invaded Mexico, annexed a third of its territory and intervened in its revolution. In Mexican eyes, the United States now alternately bullies its southern neighbor or ignores it — all the while building a wall to keep out Mexicans.

So soccer commentators found little incongruity this week in waxing historical.

"We are going to remember and repeat the gringos' defeat at the Alamo," the columnist Alfredo Domínguez Muro wrote today in the daily Reforma.

The sold-out semifinal match at 60,000-seat Jalisco Stadium will be between the under-23 national teams of Mexico and the United States. Only the winner will advance to Athens.

Honduras plays Costa Rica earlier in the day for the other berth in the Olympics from the Concacaf region, which encompasses North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The United States defeated Honduras, 4-3, on Saturday to win its group, and Costa Rica held Mexico to a 1-1 draw to win the other four-team group.

Mexico is expected to benefit from its home-team advantage and furious fan support. Fans chanted "Osama, Osama, Osama" and booed during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" when the United States defeated Canada, 2-0, last Thursday in a first-round game in Zapopan.

"The Mexican team will start the game with 12 players because of the 60,000," Coach Glenn Myernick said after the United States beat Honduras in Guadalajara Saturday. "But none of them can kick the ball."

United States striker Landon Donovan was more blunt. The Mexico fans "hate us," he told The Associated Press Monday in Guadalajara. "I sometimes wish I didn't know Spanish, but I think everybody understands what they are saying."

To prevent violence, the city officials in Guadalajara have doubled the number of police at the game. About 80 officers will be stationed around the field to watch the stands, Fernando Chávez, information director for the local government, said. Another 60 officers will patrol the seating areas closest to the field. Twenty more will be outside the stadium.

What rankles many Mexicans is that as United States soccer has come of age over the past decade, Mexico has suffered a humiliating string of losses. The United States has won six of the last eight games between the two senior national teams.

The most excruciating result was Mexico's 2-0 loss to the United States in the second round of the 2002 World Cup, a result that has raised the stakes even higher for Tuesday's game.

"They eliminated us from the World Cup, so for us, this is revenge and what better way to take it then pushing them out of the Olympics," Luis Alonso Sandoval, one of Mexico's strikers, said.

Clear-eyed assessments of the team's performance so far suggest the players will need the fans' support.

"The Mexicans grow when they are enveloped by their public," José Ramón Fernández, the chief commentator of TV Azteca, Mexico's No. 2 television network, said. "They feel secure, better and they show their quality, and on occasion, good soccer."

But he argued that if the qualifying games had been played elsewhere, Mexico would have found it tough to get this far.

Some fans agree. "I think that if the Mexicans win, it will only be because the U.S. team plays badly, not because the Mexican team has talent or because the Mexican team really puts everything into it," said Antonio Rosado, 33, who has a shoeshine stand outside the headquarters of the Mexican federation.

But loyal fans believe that playing the United States gives the team added motivation.

"It's a question of honor, a question of history," said a newspaper seller, Anselmo Cazares, 58. "We should always beat them, we should always try to humiliate the gringos."
Viva Mexico! 10.Feb.2004 21:51

Lars

U.S. Ousted From Athens Olympic Soccer
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

February 10, 2004
Filed at 11:03 p.m. ET

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) -- The United States men won't be playing soccer at the Athens Olympics.

A swarming Mexican offense knocked the U.S. team out Tuesday night with a 4-0 victory that ended a string of five appearances for the Americans in the games.

Playing before a noisy crowd of almost 57,000, Mexico avenged a 2-0 World Cup loss two years ago and joined Costa Rica in the Olympic field.

The Mexicans battered the U.S. defense with waves of attackers who kept slipping free of defenders near the goal. Rafael Marquez Lugo scored twice for Mexico.

The game among under-23 squads was a winner-take-all battle for a berth at the Summer Olympics. It came just over two months after a qualifying tournament victory by Mexico kept the U.S. baseball team out of the games.

Costa Rica defeated Honduras 2-0 earlier Tuesday for the other Olympic slot from the North and Central America and Caribbean region.