Friday, June 15, 2018

Is Equipo Mexico in the World Cup really the equivalent of Chicago Cubs?

It’s no secret that when it comes to the world of international soccer, I’m a follower of El Tri, as in the Tri-colors (a.k.a., the national futbol team of Mexico).

Donovan gets paired up … 
It’s also knowledge to anybody who has closely read this weblog throughout the years that I don’t have much use for the Chicago Cubs baseball club.

SO I HAVE to confess to feeling a touch of nausea when I learned of an advertising campaign trying to compare the chances of Team Mexico winning the World Cup to that of the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series.

Which, as Cubs fans will never let the rest of us forget, actually managed to happen two years ago. If that occurred, then perhaps the day is destined for the near future that Mexico’s national football team (also the arch-rival of the U.S. national soccer club) will see themselves as a real “world champion” of soccer.

A happening that, to Mexican fanaticos de futbol is a thought that usually includes a glance skyward – as though the whole affair is truly in the hands of the good lord himself.

Then again, I still recall the parody paper The Onion publishing a story following the Cubs’ World Series victory of 2016, telling of the riotous celebrations that occurred in Heaven following the Cubbies’ victory – with several Cubs fans being banished to Hell for their vandalism and other misbehavior.

SO WHAT’S THE connection between El Tri and the baby blue bears?

It seems that Modelo, a Mexican beer brand available in the United States, has new commercial spots featuring one-time Cubs player David Ross and Landon Donovan, who during his own playing career with the U.S. national team was often an antagonist of Team Mexico and a large part of the rivalry that has developed.

… with Ross in ad playing off alleged curses
But now, he’s saying that U.S. fans ought to root for Mexico (which plays its first World Cup match Sunday against Germany). It even claims that with the Cubs being able to break their “curse” (which really was little more than generations of ineptitude), it’s now time for Mexico to do the same.

Which in the case of the World Cup usually involves Mexican teams qualifying and making it past the first round of matches, but then ultimately losing once things become more competitive.

MEXICAN TEAMS HAVE never made it past el Quinto Partido (a fifth match, with a team ultimately needing to win eight matches during the next month in order to win the whole thing).

Now, the one-time Mexican villain of Donovan is talking in terms of Mexico prevailing. Although it seems some soccer fans in this country are willing to follow suit because of the lack of a U.S. team in the running.

The Morning Consult organization came out with a poll this week showing only 20 percent of people intending to watch the World Cup this year, although 77 percent of those who watched international soccer will tune in their television sets to the activity taking place in Russia.

Who they’re rooting for? It seems there are 11 percent each who will cheer for Mexico or England (could the British become the faves of those of us enamored with this Age of Trump that we’re now in, with the rest of us backing Equipo Mexico), with another 10 percent for Brazil (a perennial futebol powerhouse).

ALL I KNOW is that I’ll be tuning in on Sunday, along with June 23 (against South Korea) and June 27 (against Sweden) to see if Mexico can advance beyond the group play, while playing into the theme of Mexico being a Chicago Cubs equivalent.

Is '18 THE YEAR for losing ways to end?
Who knows? I may even have a few beers – although to be honest, I’m more likely to crack open a Dos Equis or a Tecate (sorry Modelo).

Although I’ll be honest in admitting I’ll take some joy from those people who go out of their way to feel miserable because they can’t enjoy “the beautiful game.”

The ones who want to think they’re the majority, even though that same poll showing only 20 percent will watch the World Cup also showed only 14 percent “very likely” to watch the Daytona 500 auto racing.


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