The excitement from the FIFA 2018 World Cup can be felt all the way in the Coachella Valley.
The Mexicali Cafe in Indio was the place to watch the Mexico Vs. Germany play, people were cheerful and excited wearing their tri-color jerseys, even if the game started bright and early at eight in the morning.
For many of the people at the cafe, watching Mexico play in the world cup was more than a game, it was almost a religious experience. Elio Valenzuela and his girlfriend are in the middle of moving from Arizona to the Bay Area, but he had to stop to watch his team play.
Valenzuela said, “It’s every four years, it’s a huge thing, it’s a huge deal, it’s so huge that I told her anywhere we stop even if it’s like a gas station if they have a TV on, we’re going to stop and watch the game.”
He does not know anyone in the restaurant but he said he felt right at home.
Valenzuela said, “Even though I am away from my family they are in Phoenix me being here watching the game takes you back.”
As one may imagine the majority of people inside Mexicali Cafe were rooting for the underdogs, Mexico, as they faced the returning champions.
The co-owner of the restaurant, Jorge Sandez watched the game with family and friends. He said, “If we win it is something big for Mexico we have never win a world cup so hopefully this is our opportunity.”
Sandez sat next to old friends, he said they all used to play soccer together at Indio High School, one of them is Leo Burgos who soccer runs in all of their blood.
Burgos said, “We were raised with the ball on the streets on the fields every Saturday, Sunday, it’s in us, it’s our passion, it’s our sport.”
The passion for the sport combined with the patriotic pride of watching your country on the global stage means there is lots of pressure to win.
Mexico scored the only goal of the game during the first half, and even though Germany tried they were not able to recover.
But one game won is not enough, Laura Sandez said she wants her team to win it all. She said, “We want Mexico to win next game, and we’re rooting all the way!”
While for Burgos, Sunday’s win is the cherry on top of his father’s day celebration.
Burgos said, “Good father’s day present by beating Germany, that would be the ultimate goal.”
Both teams return to the soccer field on Saturday, the Germans will play against the Swedish, will the team from Mexico will play against the South Korean team.