MEXICO CITY — Thousands of Mexicans in the national colors of green, white and red danced in the streets on Sunday to celebrate their team’s stunning victory against Germany, the World Cup defending champions.
Elated fans waved Mexican flags and donned traditional “sombrero” hats at the iconic Angel of Independence monument in downtown Mexico City as they sang the country’s unofficial soccer anthem, “Cielito Lindo,” or “Pretty Little Sky,” a popular folksong.
Rodolfo Pulido, 47, led a chant of “Mexico! Mexico! Mexico!” perched on a concrete barrier that usually separates traffic on a busy thoroughfare. Mexico beat Germany 1-0 in Moscow.
“I am incredibly happy,” said Pulido, with his girlfriend and son on a Father’s Day outing. “It’s a double gift: Mexico won and I get to celebrate with my son.”
He also said he could now dream of Mexico reaching the next stage along with 15 other teams, getting a shot at reaching the quarter- and semi-finals before the final match.
“El Tri,” as the team is called in homage to Mexico’s three-color flag, has failed make it to the round of 16 in the last six World Cups.
Presidential frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador offered his congratulations at a campaign event in Mexico state, telling supporters, “Just like the team won today, Mexico will keep winning.”
In the city’s massive main square, families in Mexican football jerseys watched the game on a giant screen in front of a towering cathedral.
When star player Hirving Lozano scored a goal in the 35th minute, supporters shouted, “Yes, we did it!”
Fans on social media celebrated goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa’s performance, circulating memes depicting him as president of Mexico.
Others riffed on U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, placing photos of Ochoa guarding the goal alongside the caption “Hey! We already have a wall.”
Another popular meme depicted German Chancellor Angela Merkel holding a phone to her ear with the text: “Donald? It’s me Angela. Please build the wall.”
Mexico will face South Korea in its next game on Saturday in Rostov-on-Dov, Russia. — Reporting by Berengere Sim; Additional reporting by Gustavo Graf and Roberto Ramirez; Editing by Daina Beth Solomon and Cynthia Osterman