MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hundreds of Mexico soccer fans danced and cheered outside the South Korean embassy in Mexico City on Wednesday, grateful after the Asian country’s victory over Germany guaranteed the national team a spot in the knock-out stages of the World Cup.
After Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 on Wednesday, Mexican fans turned their support to South Korea, fearful that a victory by Germany would send their players home.
South Korea stunned the world by defeating Germany 2-0 with two goals in the final minutes of the game, ensuring the former world champions were eliminated and allowing Mexico to finish the group in second place.
South Korea itself was eliminated.
Byoung-yin Han, consul general at the embassy, said,
“There’s no distinction between Mexicans and Koreans today.”
He said Mexican staff at the embassy were crying with joy.
Hundreds of fans celebrated outside the embassy in the upmarket neighbourhood of Lomas de Chapultepec, waving flags of both countries, donning sombreros and quaffing tequila.
A Korean member of the diplomatic staff was raised onto the shoulders of the crowd, which shouted “Korean, brother, now you’re Mexican.”
The fans also led what appeared to be an embassy official in a chorus of “Cielito Lindo,” Mexico’s unofficial soccer anthem.
Celebrations spread to the historic centre of the capital, where World Cup games are being shown on giant screens. Mexican fans mobbed Asian tourists, and TV footage showed one laughing Asian man being flung into the air and caught by the crowd.
Memes spread across social media, including one of the Mexican and Korean flags combined as one.
“Maybe it is not the best way of getting through, but we’re through. We are very grateful,” said Pablo Gonzalez, 45.
(This version of the story corrects paragraph 5 spelling to Byoung instead of Bjoung.)
Reporting by Dave Graham; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Cynthia Osterman