Mexico vs. South Africa: Mexicans realistic about World Cup prospects
In the opening World Cup match Friday morning, Mexico will come to a standstill to watch Mexico vs. South Africa. But only 20 percent of Mexicans think their team will advance to the semi-finals.
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Ahead of Friday´s match, Mexican striker Guillermo Franco seemed to acknowledge how many people – in Mexico and beyond – will have their eyes on the team. "It's a blessing from God, not everyone has the opportunity to kick off the World Cup, and we're aware that millions of people will be watching," he told reporters on Wednesday.Skip to next paragraph
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Playing the debut game has fans nerves frayed. Cristian Zaldivar, who sells heaping cups of cantaloupe, watermelon, and mango from a street stall in Mexico City, says he believes Mexico is a better team than its first rival, South Africa, but that team has the clear home advantage. “It is at their home, in front of their own people,” he says. “I have to say I am nervous.”
In a poll by the daily El Universal, 66 percent think Mexico will win the first game. But in the next rounds, Mexico plays France and then Uruguay. Only about 50 percent believe Mexico will garner a full-out victory against those teams. Forty-eight percent say Mexico will advance to the quarterfinals.
World’s biggest loser?
And according to a World Cup facts list put together by soccerlens.com: “Mexico is the biggest loser at the tournament, having had 22 losses. They also have the worst goal differential, allowing 36 more than they have scored overall.”
That seems to do little to dampen the enthusiasm here in Mexico. Newspapers are publishing articles for companies on how to keep productivity up, with El Universal dedicating over 1,300 words to the subject in one article this week. The bottom line: let employees watch the games in the office; productivity might go down but not as much as if they feign sick.
Two pharmacists, who for obvious reasons wished not to share their names, were still undecided about whether they would be at work on time Friday morning (the game starts at 9 a.m. local time), since their boss barred the television from their store.
Mr. Zalvidar says he considers himself fortunate: he is moving his stand from its regular street corner to a local park, where TV screens are to be set up. “I am lucky,” he says. “I can kill two birds with one stone.”
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