Credit: Univision Deportes / YouTube
“If we can cheer them up a bit, we want to do that.”
The United States and Mexico are set to renew their bitter soccer rivalry today in Columbus, Ohio, where both teams will kick off the final phase of CONCACAF’sWorld Cup Qualifying playoffs for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The highly-anticipated match comes days after the presidential election, which saw Donald Trump elected as the next president of the United States. Trump’s victory has led to feelings of frustration and uncertainty for many Latinos in the U.S., who were angered by his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
In a recent interview with Univision Deportes, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez said he and his teammates are very aware of the extra layer of tension that will be present during the match. Hernandez said he hopes people continue to move forward despite the setback: “Unfortunately, that’s the decision this country decided to take, and people have to face it head on.”
The 28-year-old striker acknowledged that a Mexico victory could bring some joy to fans who have had a rough week. “If we can give people some sort of joy, if we can help them during this bad moment in their lives, if we can cheer them up a bit, we want to do that,” said Chicharito. During the interview, Hernandez made it clear that he feels the match is purely a sports rivalry, and that fans should take joy in a possible win the same way they would if Mexico was facing any other team.