In Costa Rica, any mention of the name Walter López is sure to incite bitterness among the nation’s football fans for a long time to come. The referee drew the now-infamous yellow card on Costa Rica’s Roy Miller in the 121st minute, setting up Mexico’s winning penalty kick in Sunday’s 1-0 Gold Cup quarterfinals match.
But widespread complaints from Costa Rican fans have found some on the Mexican side nodding their heads in agreement.
ESPN reporter and longtime Mexican football journalist David Faitelson said in a column Monday morning that the region’s football federation, CONCACAF, wants Mexico to advance to the finals for higher viewership numbers.
“The official decided to call the penalty and in his decision could have weighed the prevailing interest of the Gold Cup organizers – the ‘new’ CONCACAF or the ‘old’ CONCACAF – that Mexico and the United States make it to the final,” Faitelson wrote in his ESPN Deportes column.
The sports daily Medio Tiempo said in a tweet: “Advance gifted: El Tricolor gets to the semifinals with a #NoEraPenal.”
Mexico’s Diario Récord said: “The national team was willed into a 1-0 victory in the quartefinals with a horrible penalty given in favor of Miguel Herrera’s side.”
Many in Mexico seem to be in agreement that the penalty was undeserved, except for head coach Miguel Herrera and Peralta. “I asked Oribe if he was fouled and he told me that he [Roy Miller] threw him from the top,” Herrera told reporters after the match.
Social media users joined in on the conversation by poking fun at the questionable call and tying it into Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Mexicans.