Mexican Soccer Fans’ New Champions: The South Korean Squad


Germany’s World Cup loss meant Mexico would live to fight another day — and fans had South Korea to thank.

By Tiffany May and Su-Hyun Lee

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South Korean consul general to Mexico, Byoung-Jin Han, celebrating with grateful Mexican fans outside the Korea embassy in Mexico City, Mexico, Wednesday.CreditJames Wagner/The New York Times

South Korea’s upset victory over Germany, the World Cup’s defending champions, had fans chanting in the streets — in Mexico.

Germany’s loss on Wednesday meant Mexico would advance to the knockout round and get another chance at the final, despite having lost its own match to Sweden.

Mexico lived to fight another day and had the South Koreans to thank — and thank them they did.

“Coreano, hermano, ya eres Mexicano” they chanted (“Korean, brother, you are Mexican now”).

Later on, Mr. Han donned a Mexico jersey as fans plied him with tequila.

Other South Koreans spotted on the streets of Mexico City were swarmed and cheered. One was paraded around the city like a long-lost hero.

Online, the face of the South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo was photoshopped onto a religious icon.

And the player’s Wikipedia page was modified to say that he was known as “the Mexican Savior or the one true god.”

Despite South Korea’s win, the team, which lost to Mexico and Sweden last week, will not be advancing to the round of 16.

Nevertheless, a victory over the defending champions was reason to celebrate in South Korea, where anger at the team over the recent losses appeared to have faded. On the website of the presidential Blue House, which allows citizens to post petitions, some users called for the South Korean players to be exempted from military service.



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