The World Cup can throw up some weird and wonderful scenes, not least in Mexico City when locals hoisted the South Korean envoy onto their shoulders after his country’s stunning win against Germany.
With Mexico losing 3-0 to Sweden in their final World Cup group game, ‘El Tri’ fans were anxiously watching the other Group F match between Germany and South Korea, hoping the South Koreans could avoid defeat to send the reigning champions out and the Mexicans into the last 16.
Their prayers were answered when late goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min secured a stunning win for South Korea, and ensured Mexico and Sweden progressed to the knockout stage at the expense of the Germans.
The result sparked huge celebrations among the legions of Mexican fans in Russia, and also back home in Mexico City, not least when locals mobbed the South Korean embassy and hoisted the ambassador onto their shoulders, before marching him around in thanks for his team’s heroics in helping Mexico into the last 16.
The ambassador reveled in the celebrations, raising his hands and waving around an inflatable figure with a Mexican shirt on.
Mexican fans in Russia for the World Cup also expressed their gratitude to one South Korean they found outside the stadium in Ekaterinburg following the defeat to Sweden.
He was seen being thrown up into the air by grateful Mexican fans.
The Mexicans found a South Korean outside the stadium 😂 pic.twitter.com/9gG7V9wtOd— Siavoush Fallahi (@SiavoushF) 27 июня 2018 г.
The Mexican team’s official beer sponsor also showed its gratitude to the South Koreans, sending their embassy in Washington several dozen crates of alcohol, along with the message: "Showing thanks to our South Korean friends as the official beer of the Mexican national football team. Cheers to you, brothers."
Mexico had looked good for a last 16 spot going in to the final round of games with two wins from two, but found themselves 3-0 down against the Swedes, meaning Germany could have sneaked through at their expense if they had beaten South Korea.
In the event, South Korea’s late goals handed them a famous win and confirmed passage to the knockout stages for Mexico and Sweden, sending Germany crashing out.
The South Koreans themselves went home with just three points from their three games, but the famous win against the Germans – and the celebrations that followed – will live long in the memory.
Mexico take on the mighty Brazilians in Samara on Monday, hoping to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time since 1986.