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Soccer is such a big deal that teachers protesting against a newly adopted education reform complain that Mexicans demand more from the national team’s soccer coach than of their president.

“I say: `We have to be optimistic. It can win,’” said Mariana Villalobos, a 28-year-old who sells used clothing on the street. “But then you see how the other team scores once, then twice, and we lose our spirit.”


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