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Posted by Chris Jones
JOHANNESBURG -- They are outnumbered, but Mexican fans have shown up in force for Friday's opening World Cup match against South Africa. Inside the stadium, their red, white and green outfits and costumes -- complete with sombreros, wrestling masks and the occasional Aztec warrior headdress -- stand out against the sea of yellow host jerseys.
Two minutes before the opening ceremonies began, they started chanting in their section in the upper bowl at Soccer City -- "Mexico! Mexico!" -- loud enough to be heard over the constant drone of vuvuzelas. The Mexicans countered with drums and rattles. The sound was incredible.
Some of the Mexican fans traveled more than 60 hours to be here. One wig-wearing group outside the stadium -- led by 25-year-old Edgar Gutierrez -- had arrived just in time for the kickoff. They had flown from Mexico City to New York, from New York to Dubai, and then from Dubai to Cape Town, capping their journey with the 14-hour drive to Johannesburg.
"This is our soul," Gutierrez said. "I guarantee you, there will be more Mexicans here than any other country. We love to party."
Gutierrez and his friends -- including Rodrigo Bautista, 22, and Jose Luis Uribe, 25 -- were confident their team would win over South Africa. The only problem, they said, was that beating the hosts might put a damper on tonight's postgame festivities.
"We hope they're not too sad," Gutierrez said. "We want them to come party with us."