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There are victories that taste like defeat, and defeats that taste like victory. Mexico’s 2-1 loss to Portugal today tastes like defeat. Our team played badly. They failed to score a penalty, they were imprecise, nervous, even foolish. In spite of all that, we made it, barely, (in part, thanks to Iran) to the next round, where we will play the Netherlands or Argentina.

What saddens me is not the defeat itself but the low spirit showed by the team and the effect it will have on millions of Mexican people. Mexico invested too much hope in its team, mainly because the media created a gigantic wave of expectation. Some even proclaimed that we had a serious chance to win the World Cup. That was irresponsible.

In sports, as in politics and love, excessive hopes lead to excessive disillusionment. Will it affect the public mood for the elections of July 2? Yes, I think it will. If there is no miracle in the next round, I predict that people will want a radical change — of Mexico’s coach and of Mexico’s presidency. It will be a candidate that, alas, inspires great, unbounded hope.

Publicado en el blog "Kicking and Screaming" de The New York Times el 21 de junio de 2006.

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22 junio 2006