Sweden, with their greater physicality, were on top, but Mexico were risky on the break. It appeared Mexico were about to be sent unceremoniously home from Russian Federation.
Supporters of rival teams watched in amazement yesterday as the usually-all-conquering team crashed out of the competition with a 2-0 loss to South Korea.
Suddenly, all eyes turned to the South Korea-Germany match being played simultaneously in Kazan.
That left Mexico in a perilous position, as a late German victor would have sent the Central Americans crashing out, but two injury-time South Korean goals in Kazan ensured Juan Carlos Osorio's men edged through as runners-up.
The consul general at the embassy, Byoung-jin Han, said, "There's no distinction between Mexicans and Koreans today".
"Thank you Korea. I don't even know quite where it is, but thank you, thank you".
The South Korean consul general was given a hero's treatment in Mexico City.
Some sang Mexican football anthems while others danced to South Korean pop hit Gangnam Style. My expectations were so high.
But the players reaction was a different level as Javier Hernandez and others were seen crying when the final whistle blew, and who could blame them.
"I've always tried to take responsibility, always tried to take the team. We are very grateful", said Pablo Gonzalez, 45.
With its three goals, Sweden finished atop the group and will play Group E runners-up Switzerland.
Mexico has not made it past the knockout Round of 16 for the past six World Cups.
Mexicans were left praying for their good luck to continue.
With the group going down to the wire, Germany needed victory against the lightly regarded Koreans to give themselves a chance of progressing.
Like Neuer, Thomas Muller broke through the ranks in Germany's national team at World Cup 2010, although the Bayern Munich forward was benched for the crunch clash with South Korea, and the 28-year-old admitted the squad were embarrassed by their displays.
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