Beer cups poured onto the pitch, as the heavily pro-Mexico spectators booed and jeered at the action in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium.
The fact that Mexico lost, 7-0, against Chile was insufferable. El Tri’s faithful couldn’t believe that La Roja put on a goal scoring clinic, considering that Mexico went into the quarterfinal with a 22-game unbeaten streak on Saturday.
Head coach Juan Carlos Osorio’s Mexico was highly touted as one of the most, if not the most, talented of all time. Every position in the lineup possessed a second- and third-string player more than capable of making their club’s starting line up on any given day. But not a single Mexican looked worthy of even landing a spot on the bench.
The Chileans, on the other hand, displayed one of their most complete performances of the year — similar to the drubbing that Joachim Low’s Germany gave to Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup semis. Chile’s most iconic stars today, Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sánchez, played superbly. But Eduardo Vargas will likely be the one getting plenty of phone calls from Europe’s biggest clubs this summer, as his pace and ability to read the game helped him score four goals.
Unlike La Roja’s big names, Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa, Andrés Guardado and Héctor Moreno failed to rally their side. Guardado’s facial expressions of shock and frustration told the tale of a nightmare unfolding before his eyes. He knew that his side was going to be in for a tough game, but he definitely didn’t expect Chile to thoroughly outclass El Tri.
I certainly didn’t anticipate this result, knowing that Mexico beat Chile in a friendly fixture a few days before the Copa America kicked off. I thought El Tri’s 22-game unbeaten streak would be enough to inspire it to victory and secure a potentially entertaining bout against James Rodríguez’s Colombia in the semis.
The disappointing result killed my joy of actually watching Mexico for the first time in months, because I didn’t have time during the school year. The only immediate form of comfort that I had was the al pastor burrito I was eating. But even that wasn’t enough to ease the pain. Then again, at least I didn’t spend nearly half of my paycheck to watch my team record its worst-ever major tournament loss, right?
I tried coping with the sorrow by joking about it on Facebook. I posted a status, in which I explained that if I had a son, I’d let him catch me crying about Mexico’s disheartening loss. I hoped that he would comfort me by telling me that he’ll one day win a Copa America (or even a World Cup) for Mexico — kind of like how Pelé won a World Cup for Brazil, ultimately becoming one of the biggest names of all time in futbol.
I capped off the post by dubbing the result “El Santa Clarazo,” a reference to the historic loss that Brazil suffered on home soil against Uruguay in the 1950 FIFA World Cup final remembered today as “El Maracanazo.” I felt “El Santa Clarazo” perfectly encompassed how Mexicans may have felt devastated seeing El Tri melt down in a tournament in which it was widely expected to at least reach the semis and possibly emerge as Copa America champion for the first time ever.
A few of my friends thought I was overreacting through that Facebook post, while my fellow futbol enthusiasts at the sports department found it amusing. My friend Devang suggested to name my son Santiago Munez — the protagonist in Goal and Goal 2. And I jokingly insisted that I should instead name him Edson do Nascimento, part of Pelé’s actual name.
If I have a son, he won’t be named Santiago Munez or after Pelé.
But I hope that one day, an exceptionally talented Mexican will emerge in the international stage and lead Mexico to Copa America and World Cup glory. A championship victory in either of these competitions will be enough for me and Mexico to alleviate the agony of looking back at “El Santa Clarazo.”