- Mexico was looking at an early World Cup exit down 3-0 to Sweden and needing South Korea to hold on against Germany to secure a spot in the knockout round.
- When South Korea scored a stoppage-time goal, Mexico supporters erupted with cheers knowing they’d advance out of the group stage, despite their team being down 3-0 on the field.
- Across the world, El Tri fans celebrated South Korea’s victory, waving the country’s flag and lifting South Korean fans in the air while chanting their thanks.
Mexico’s 2018 World Cup was dangerously close to coming to a heartbreaking ending.
Despite winning the first two matches of the group stage, including an impressive upset over group favourites Germany,El Tri still needed a win or a draw against Sweden to secure its spot in the knockout round. With a loss to the Swedes, Mexico’s fate would come down to the outcome of the Germany-South Korea match that was being played simultaneously.
After a scoreless first half in both games, Sweden took control in the second half, building up a 3-0 lead over Mexico, leaving fans looking nervous that their World Cup hopes were about to come crashing down around them.
Germany and South Korea remained knotted at 0-0, but one goal from the German side would spell ruin, and Toni Kroos had already proven his team was more than capable of a late go-ahead goal.
As both games entered stoppage time, it became clear that the outcome of Germany-South Korea would determine Mexico’s fate. So, when news spread that South Korea had stolen a goal against the reigning champions, Mexico fans erupted in the stands even as their team was down 3-0 in front of them.
Chances are good that no group of fans has ever cheered louder as their team was losing 3-0, but the sense of relief and accompanying bliss could be felt across the arena.
It was a surreal scene that continued that played out amongst Mexico fans the world over, as El Tri supporters immediately adopted South Korea as their second favourite team on the planet.
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 27, 2018
— Adam Serrano (@AdamSerrano) June 27, 2018
Some Mexico fans went beyond cheering while watching the action unfold television, either by waving South Korean flags or finding South Korea supporters and thanking them in person with chants and in some cases carrying them like conquering heroes.
Hoy es un buen día para ser de Corea y pasar por el Zócalo ????????????????????????
???? Gabriel Jiménez pic.twitter.com/sY8Snnkco6
— CIUDAD (@reformaciudad) June 27, 2018
— Valerie Baeza (@_Valeriebee) June 27, 2018
The Mexicans found a South Korean outside the stadium ???? pic.twitter.com/9gG7V9wtOd
— Siavoush Fallahi (@SiavoushF) June 27, 2018
It’s moments like this that make the World Cup truly a one-of-a-kind event. While South Korea’s World Cup run is over, the team still pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far to eliminate the reigning champions.
As Mexico continues its run and attempts to break a curse that has haunted their team for 30 years in the first match of the knockout round, there’s no doubt the team and its supporters will remember the South Korean side as heroes.
More World Cup coverage:
- The most mesmerising photos from the World Cup so far
- Lionel Messi made a subtle move before his clutch goal that had people marveling at his otherworldly skill
- Neymar drew a penalty with a ridiculous dive – but the World Cup’s new replay system overturned the call
- Lionel Messi is living through a waking nightmare, and it’s impossible to look away
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