GOTTINGEN, Germany — Mexico's national team arrived at its World Cup headquarters Friday night, greeted with a raucous -- almost crushing -- welcome by flag-draped fans from home.
"It's incredible to be here," midfielder Rafael Garcia said in remarks translated for the Associated Press by Mexican radio. "We are so excited. This is a great World Cup environment."
A crowd of more than 1,000 showed up at the team's hotel well before its two buses pulled up shortly after 6 p.m. Most were from Gottingen, but there was also a group of Mexican fans -- eventually growing to more than two dozen -- that chanted and sang nearly nonstop.
"I live here in Germany, and it's a very big thing to have the World Cup here," said flag-draped student Erica Beutelspacher, a native of Tuxtla in southern Mexico who now studies economics in Berlin. "I think they're going to do well. This is one of the best teams Mexico has ever had."