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UK outlet's tone-deaf 'wall' headline draws backlash following Mexico loss

Mexico crashed out of the World Cup on Monday, coming up short against a superior Brazil side that allowed Juan Carlos Osorio’s team to enjoy possession but limited its chances in the final third. Following the dispiriting 2-0 loss for Mexico, UK news outlet The Telegraph ran a piece in which, among other things, it rightfully praised Brazil’s defensive midfield pairing of Paulinho and Casemiro.

The burly duo effectively shut down an El Tri attack that had looked rampant in the opening match against Germany, limiting Mexico to just a single shot on goal. But while few would debate the Telegraph’s overall take about Mexico being outclassed by a Brazil side that has the look of a potential champion about it, the outlet’s decision to run a headline describing Paulinho and Casemeiro as a “wall that even Mexicans could not pass” has, as you might imagine, not gone down so well.

Perhaps no one told the editors at the Telegraph that German outlet Bild drew similar heat for featuring a cover depicting a wall ahead of Germany’s World Cup clash with Mexico?

Maybe the Telegraph’s editors don’t know that President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall is one of the most contentious issues in the United States today. Or that as a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” border policy, there are still more than 2,000 children who have been seized along the U.S. border and separated from their parents. Or that many of the children are currently being held in detention centers that have been likened to jails, with no plan in place for reuniting them with their parents.

Otherwise, someone on the Telegraph’s editorial staff might have thought better about running that particular headline. Or about including a line like this in the story:

“{Paulinho and Casemiro] built in this game the kind of wall Mexicans would be disinclined to go near.”

Really clever …

As we’ve mentioned in this space before, the use of the term “wall” to describe a seemingly impassible defense is not out of bounds within soccer’s verbal parlance.

But in light of the current situation along the U.S. border and the divisive rhetoric of the president and many of his supporters, jokey headlines about building walls to stop the Mexican team could most politely be described as utterly tone deaf.

Guys . . . couldn’t you have just said “barrier” instead?


Telegraph Football’s Twitter account has deleted the tweet promoting the story and changed the headline in question on the publication’s website. Below is a screengrab of the headline.

UK outlet the Telegraph ran a headline about Brazil building a wall to stop Mexico.

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