Curse continues for luckless Mexico

Robben pilloried in Mexican press but age old failings also acknowledged

And so Mexico have done it again, falling at the second round stage for the sixth World Cup in succession after another agonising defeat for a nation that has become something of a specialist in the area.

'The Curse Continues' lamented Mexico City's Reforma newspaper in which a snap poll found 57 per cent of readers blamed Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca for their team's elimination after he awarded Arjen Robben a late penalty.

‘Un Robbo’ - A Robbenery is the headline in El Universal which like the entire country lamented what it described as “a polemical penalty”. ‘They Broke Our Hearts’ is the hadline in Crónica over a dramatic picture of Robben in which he looks like a sniper has just shot him in the back.

But mixed in with all the insults being heaped on Robben and Proenca there was also dashes of realism, acknowledgements that once again Mexico has let a winning position slip.


‘It Was Ours!’ laments the front page of La Prensa but acknowledged “it was the same old story… Herrera renounced his philosophy, handed over the initiative in the final minutes and lost.”

"El Tri once again demonstrated that it does not know how to make the clock its friend. The Dutch offered a master-class in how to measure it out," wrote Daniel Blumrosen Juárez. "It does not matter who they play, what the conditions are, who are the coach or the players, the Mexican national team has an amazing capacity for self-destruction."

If Mexico was ensconced in its familiar blanket of eternal pessimism further down the Central American isthmus in Costa Rica there was unbridled joy at a different El Tri's victory on penalties over Greece that sees the tournament's fairytale team rock up at the quarter final stages for the first time in its history.

‘Gracefulness, Pride and Courage’ saluted Al Día which said Sunday was a day “when you had to dust off the manual on suffering, in which the heart ended up in your hands and anguish ate away at your entrails”.

Already ranked the planet’s happiest country, so chilled out it does not even bother having an army, Costa Rica is currently in dreamland.

“Now we can see a future with hope and the guarantee that nothing will ever again be unthinkable, and even less so impossible for El Tri,” wrote Johan Umaña in San José’ La Nacion.

And in the words of the team's inspirational coach Jorge Luis Pinto: "This isn't over yet. We are living it, this is not a dream we are in the quarters," writes Cristian Williams Méndez in La Republica. "Costa Rica is alive, more alive than ever and as Pinto says we want to keep going so bring on the Netherlands. "

Tom Hennigan

Tom Hennigan

Tom Hennigan is a contributor to The Irish Times based in South America