Mexican fans thank South Korea for progressing in World Cup
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Mexican fans thank South Korea for progressing in World Cup

FOOTBALL fans in Mexico have an unlikely favourite new team: South Korea.

Hundreds of fans marched to the South Korean embassy in Mexico City on Wednesday, dressing Seoul’s consul general Byoung-jin Han in a Mexican jersey and force-feeding him tequila.

They were celebrating Korea’s unexpected 2-0 victory over Germany in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which allowed the North American side to progress to the knock-out stages of the tournament which is being held in Russia.

Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 on Wednesday, meaning that a German win would have eliminated the Mexican side known as El Tri from the World Cup.

Fans in Mexico City sang the country’s unofficial soccer anthem “Cielito Lindo” and chanted to the consul general: “Korean brother, you are now Mexican!”

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South Korea’s Consul General in Mexico Han Byoung-jin reacts as Mexican soccer fans celebrate outside the embassy. Source: Reuters/Gustavo Martinez

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Byoung-jin Han said: “there’s no distinction between Mexicans and Koreans today. We’re celebrating together.”

“They are crazy but I’m also crazy today.” Mexican staff at the embassy were crying with joy, he added.

Mexican airline Aeromexico announced a 20 percent discount on its Korean flights, saying: “We love you Korea!”

Celebrations spread to the historic center of the capital, where World Cup games are being shown on giant screens. Mexican fans mobbed Asian tourists, and TV footage showed one laughing Asian man being flung into the air and caught by the crowd.

Memes spread across social media with the hashtag #GraciasCorea (thank you Korea), including one of the Mexican and Korean flags combined as one.

Mexicans at the actual tournament in Russia also celebrated fellow Korean fans.

Additional reporting from Reuters.