Mexico and the United Kingdom speak the same language: soccer

MEXICO CITY, May 11 – Mexico tastes like black mole from Oaxaca. Smells like a cimpasuchil on the Day of the Dead. It pierces the eye with bright picado colours. But if you ask me what Mexico sounds like, I'll tell you it sounds like eighty thousand throats screaming “Goal!” At Azteca Stadium.

This sound has a lot of British heritage.

Mexico and the United Kingdom are linked by many elements, most of which are well-known and others not so widespread. For example, my embassy colleagues and I often wonder why there was such a great fascination with the Beatles in Mexico. Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields appear to have accompanied at least three generations of Mexicans, from those around 70 to those not even a decade old. I am sure that neither in the UK itself nor in any other Spanish-speaking country there is such enthusiasm for the Liverpool quartet.

Meanwhile, whenever an exhibition on Mexican art from the revolution or the works of Diego Rivera or Frida Kahlo is held in London or other cities in the UK, people crowd the museums. In addition, the United Kingdom is the country with the largest number of Mexican young people pursuing their postgraduate studies funded through a scholarship from
He receives Conassett, which indicates that the cultural, academic and scientific exchange between the two countries is experiencing its best moments.

But there is no bond as strong and traditional as football.

As is known, the rules that govern this sport today were born in the United Kingdom, specifically in England, although the history of the game goes back to Roman times. Roman conscripts and legionnaires played harpastum, which was played on a rectangular field divided into two parts and marked by ropes. There were two teams and the goal was to take the ball, pass it from hand to hand, to the opposing end of the court, and touch the rope. It is clear that football, as well as rugby, owes a lot to this hobby.

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In the Middle Ages, entire cities would play something similar to football, and the game was seen as an opportunity to resolve disputes between neighbours.

It was not until 1863 when Ebenezer Morley, a lawyer and sportsman from Barnes, south-west London, believed that football should have a defined and clear set of rules in the same way that Marylebone Cricket Club, the first cricket club, did. In the world, it did so in 1787.

He invited the leaders, secretaries and representatives of dozens of football clubs from London and its suburbs to meet at a public house near where Holborn tube station now stands. The goal was to create an association to draw up a code of rules to standardize the game, thus eliminating the differences that could exist between match and match.

This is how the Football Association, the oldest football association in the world, which in 2013 turned 150 years old, was formed. The first match was played under agreed rules on December 19, 1863, and ended in a draw between the Barnes and Richmond teams.

Football arrived in Mexico at the beginning of the nineteenth century, specifically in 1824, when two British mining companies established themselves in Real del Monte, a mining town in the state of Hidalgo. At that time, English miners would play casually in the courtyard of the Dolores mine, after a hard day's work and after eating their pastes, empanadas filled with potatoes and beef that have fused over time with Mexican ingredients and which today we can enjoy stuffed with chicken with mole and beans or Tinga.

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Once the Royal Mining Company of Monte de Pachuca was established, its workers founded Mexico's first soccer club, the Pachuca Athletic Club, in 1901.

But Mexico has also contributed to English football in different ways. Not just with the talent of players like Jared Borgetti, the first Mexican to play in the Premier League when he signed for Bolton Wanderers in 2005, or Javier Chicharito Hernandez, who came to England to be crowned champion in his first year as a player. Manchester United player. Mexico has also contributed an essential component to the atmosphere experienced in football stadiums around the world: the famous “wave”, or as we know it in the United Kingdom, the “Mexican wave”.

There is controversy about the origin of this special display of celebration in football stadiums. There are those who say that its origin actually goes back to the United States, and that it was invented by Crazy George Henderson, a professional fan, in 1981 at a baseball game. Others confirm that its origin is entirely Mexican: it appeared in the 1960s, during a match between Tigres de Monterrey and Rayados de Monterrey.

The fact is that in 1986, during the World Cup in Mexico, “The Wave” became known throughout the planet. Hence it is known in the United Kingdom as the “Mexican wave”, and is a common practice at football stadiums and other sports, so much so that at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games thousands participated in the wave in swimming and athletics. Athletics competitions. Even Princes Harry and William were seen participating in the “Mexican Wave.” Naturally, the wave was not absent in the football final as Mexico beat Brazil to win the football gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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Mexico and England have met only once in the World Cup, when the tournament was held in England in 1966. England won with two goals, one of which was scored by the legend Bobby Charlton. This will be part of the path that the local team followed in that tournament until winning the World Championship, the only one so far in its history.

I was just seven years old when England were crowned world champions. With Wayne Rooney leading the English attack, I hope history repeats itself this year in Brazil. At least I'm confident that our two teams, Mexico and England, will qualify enough in the tournament to face each other. I promise you that if that happens, we at the embassy will be ready to open the door for you to watch the match together, and why not, organize our own “Mexican Wave.”

* British Ambassador to Mexico. Follow me on Twitter at @duncanjrtaylor and @ukinmexico

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