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Mexico’s complex rivalry with USA divides Mexican American soccer fans

October 8, 2015

There are few, if any, rivalries in international soccer in which the home team’s fans are as frequently and heavily outnumbered as when the USA hosts Mexico.

The Rose Bowl will be packed with 93,000 fans when the two neighbours meet in Pasadena, California on Saturday, the majority of them Mexicans immigrants or Mexican Americans born and raised in the United States but whose family ancestry makes them die-hard Mexico supporters. Some will speak no Spanish and others will have never set foot in Mexico, yet they will cheer their side as hard as they jeer the Star-Spangled Banner. This is the nature of the complex and often heated rivalry that Pasadena native Pablo Miralles believes is “more dynamic and more important to more people than any other international football rivalry.”

Miralles decided to explore the rivalry in his 2012 documentary Gringos at the Gate after being taken aback by a Mexican friend’s emotional response when he suggested the US was becoming the superior footballing nation. Miralles told the Guardian: “Initially he was very angry but he thought about it and he actually started tearing up, and he said: ‘You don’t understand. If the United States gets better than Mexico at soccer then what do we have over you guys?’”

Click here to read this feature in full at The Guardian.

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