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Mexican Soccer Team Cruz Azul Breaks Their Curse To Become Mexican League Champions

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Cruz Azul is one of the most storied teams in Mexican sports, and not for the right reasons. It's a soccer team so used to losing the big game, its very name is considered a synonym for choking. The team has lost six finals since its last championship in 1997. In fact, the phrase cruzazulear is used in Mexico to invoke an image of loser. The word even appears on the Royal Spanish Academy's website and is known internationally.

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UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: Do you know the phrase or the word cruzazulear? It's like when you are about to achieve greatness, and then you manage somehow to lose a game, a championship.

SIMON: That's a Mexican journalist asking Bob Bradley, coach of the LAFC, if he's heard the phrase before his team faced off with Cruz Azul. The coach replied...

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BOB BRADLEY: I have heard that before.

SIMON: But like the Cubs and Red Sox, Cruz Azul finally broke their curse, if that's what it was.

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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: (Non-English language spoken).

SIMON: That's an announcer giving voice to what many Mexican soccer fans must have been thinking. We didn't think we'd ever say it again. Cruz Azul are champions once more. It took the team only 24 years. As curses go, that's not so bad. Maybe they should ask BJ Leiderman to write their theme music. He does ours. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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