robben pinata A piñata on which to take out our frustrations.

Remembering Brazil: ‘No era penal’ sums up the sorrow of Mexico

No era penal. It’s a hashtag, a phrase that has been repeated endlessly and even a newborn baby’s name as Mexicans come to terms with their elimination from the World Cup.

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It means, “It wasn’t a penalty,” and refers to the foul handed to Mexican captain Rafael Márquez after Dutch forward Arjen Robben took a dive. The penalty kick went in and the game was soon over.

It was a sad outcome for a country that can take soccer, or football if you like, very seriously. The fervour with which Mexican fans devoured every match demonstrated the depth of patriotism and cultural pride that Mexicans share.

But the ultimate outcome also demonstrated the irony and the humor, which are also integral elements of the culture of Mexico. No era penal is the ironic lament for dashed hopes in Brazil, but now we can chuckle about it too, as our gallery of photos below clearly shows. (We wanted to say “laugh” rather than “chuckle” but that wouldn’t quite be correct. It’s still too early.)

The president has used the phrase in public speeches and this week it was even used to describe a possible outcome of telecommunications reform for América Móvil’s Carlos Slim. A magazine said Slim may well come out just fine after having to sell off a bunch of assets to comply with new regulations.

No era penal.

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Meanwhile, a firm in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, has taken the matter a step or two further. It’s a family firm of piñateros; they’ve been making piñatas for 27 years.

The latest addition to their selection is — you guessed it — Arjen Robben, upon whom upset fans can take out their frustration with sticks at birthday parties and other celebrations — no era penal parties, perhaps — and knock the stuffing out of him.

And the newborn baby?

He was born in the municipality of Alamo Temapache, Veracruz, on July 6, a week after the fateful game. His name is Noe Rapenal.

No era penal.

Sources: Excélsior, Twitter, Latin Times

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