The stands of the main football pitch at Waterstone College, in the south of Johannesburg, were awash with green as both local and international fans turned out to watch Mexico's public training session.
Despite the cold evening, over a hundred Mexican fans ensured the training session was festive, with Mexican flags, football rattles and vuvuzelas. South African fans were also present, some to see their football heroes in action and others to evaluate the threat of the Mexican side ahead of the opening game against Bafana Bafana on 11 June.
A group of young Mexico supporters clad in their national jerseys and carrying a massive flag were chanting local football cries as the players took to the pitch. “We are serious Mexico fans, that is why we are here in South Africa, to follow our team to the final,” said one of the ardent supporters, Carlos Perez.
Unlike his other friends Jonzalo Maza has spent time here in South Africa. “The public is really excited, you can feel it coming. It's a great experience and all the support for Mexico, all the fans, it feels like home.”
With his little girl perched in his shoulders, dressed in her own miniature Mexico jersey, Michael Whiteman was shouting his support for El Tri. “It's nice to come to these sort of things, with my baby girl, and we want her to be part of it, she's Mexican after all, but we can't take her to a game, so this is perfect.”
Michael Whiteman is a South African national who lived in Mexico for three years, after getting married and having a child he returned home. “When my wife and I heard that South Africa would be playing Mexico in the opening game we just stared at each other, and then jumped around like crazy, we couldn't believe it.”
“I'm excited, just mad excited. I am proud to be hosting the World Cup in my home country, and really impressed with what we have managed to achieve,” said Whiteman.
Standing off to one side, for a good view of the team, Luis Galindo and his brother Oscar, watch the training intently. “I have been looking forward to this World Cup since I came to South Africa two years ago. I believe this is one of the best Mexican teams I have ever seen, and it will be amazing to be here and watch them play,” said Luis.
“The feeling in South Africa has literally changed in the last two days, it is new country and Johannesburg is a new city, the ambiance is incredible, just football crazy, you talk to people and it is all soccer.”
Oscar has come over to South Africa to see his brother and watch his team play in the opening game at Soccer City. “It is going to be exceptional, imagine it, 90,000 fans all shouting and watching Mexico play, it is just going to be incredible.”