Mexico fans refrain from anti-gay chant in win against South Korea
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- Mexico fans did not use their usual goalkeeper chant in Saturday's 2-1 victory over South Korea, in the wake of a fine from FIFA after the anti-gay message was heard in last Sunday's 1-0 victory over Germany in Moscow.
A free kick by South Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-Woo in the first half was greeted with different chants by the Mexico fans, who made up the vast majority of 43,000 supporters in Rostov Arena. And the two goal kicks in the second half were not accompanied by the usual shout.
Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado said after the game it was "very positive" that the chant wasn't heard, but he also insisted the chant wasn't discriminatory.
"In spite of those of us who are Mexicans knowing that it is not offensive and isn't homophobic as FIFA see it, if there is a rule or something that bans it, it's great that it has been respected in this game and hopefully it'll continue during the World Cup," Guardado said.
A day earlier, Mexico fans had practiced a new chant -- "eeeeeeee-ROO-si-ya," the last part meaning Russia in Spanish -- in the hopes of keeping the tournament organizers happy while also repaying the kindness of their Russian hosts.
The chant, common at many Liga MX games, was widely heard at the last World Cup, but FIFA did not act. However, FIFA sanctioned the Mexican federation for its use during every one of El Tri's World Cup qualifying matches, though some of the fines were waived on appeal.
The Mexican federation had made a strenuous effort to encourage the fans to not do the chant, with players also getting involved, but FIFA still issued a $10,000 fine for "discriminatory and insulting chants" after it was heard in Mexico's opening game against Germany.
"It's the way we are. When you tell Mexicans not to do something, they keep on doing it,'' fan Carlos Quezada told The Associated Press on Friday.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.