This soccer-mad L.A. Latina has attended seven International Cups. Qatar will make it 8


There are International Cup football enthusiasts. After which there may be Bertha Alicia Guzmán.

Seven instances this Latina transplant from Guadalajara has spent a small fortune to head watch her cherished, ceaselessly heartbreaking Mexico nationwide group participate in football’s quadrennial exhibit. Alongside the way in which she has made pals and picked up recollections from Brazil to Russia, South Africa to South Korea.

Now she’s off to Qatar, the tiny Center Eastpeninsular country that may host the Copa Mundial from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. Guzmán mentioned that this International Cup, her 8th, is shaping up as her most costly. Thus far she has spent roughly $8,000 on fit tickets, airfare and accommodation.

No importa. She’s overjoyed as a result of she were given VIP tickets for Mexico’s 3 opening-round video games. All over her two-week keep in Doha, the capital town, she’ll get to absorb a number of different suits, together with Portugal as opposed to Uruguay, the U.S. as opposed to Iran, Spain towards Costa Rica and the Brazil-Cameroon come upon, earlier than returning to California in early December.

How does she get ready for this kind of football-bingeing marathon?

“I’m reasonably disciplined,” replies the common flier, who seldom passes up a possibility at a top-flight football fit or a long-distance sojourn. She just lately returned from Morocco, the ninetieth nation she has visited.

The Seven Wonders of the International? She’s been there, executed that, too.

“I like to trip. I paintings to trip,” mentioned the Torrance resident.

Bertha Alicia Guzman shows at ticket from World Cup USA 94

Amongst Guzmán’s souvenirs is a price tag from the 1994 International Cup, which the US hosted.

(James Carbone / Los Angeles Occasions)

Maximum of that paintings has been in gross sales and advertising and marketing within the grocery store business. Drop through her place of job and you’ll be able to’t miss out on her International Cup mementos: no longer overpriced mass-market vacationer souvenirs, however liked images, newspaper clippings, price tag stubs.

“I’m no longer one to shop for so much,” she mentioned. “The issues that I’ve are small.”

For some time Guzmán additionally amassed Panini stickers of International Cup avid gamers and pasted them in books — a cherished passion of football aficionados around the globe. However she discovered that if she persevered to hoard like that, she’d have to head survive her patio and switch the remainder of the home over to her football memorabilia. Nonetheless, amongst her prized possessions is a vuvuzela from South Africa 2010, little towels from Japan 2002, and bracelets from Russia 2018.

“An individual adjustments,” she mentioned. “I’ve handed that degree.”

Guzmán has been a football fan since adolescence. She changed into hooked on the sport underneath the affect of a neighbor in Guadalajara. She and her siblings began taking in suits, and she or he began following Chivas, nonetheless her favourite membership. She hasn’t ever performed the sport herself.

Her International Cup fixation happened randomly. Slightly two years after she settled in Los Angeles, Southern California helped host the 1994 International Cup, together with the overall fit between Brazil and Italy on the Rose Bowl.

Guzmán volunteered with the International Cup organizing committee, and “when the event began, they gave us tickets,” she mentioned. In that International Cup she was once ready to peer the US defeat Colombia 2-1, in addition to the overall, which Brazil gained on penalty kicks.

That tournament on American soil made her unstoppable. A bunch of 20 pals that she’d made vowed they’d all rendezvous in France for the 1998 International Cup. But if the time got here, most effective two others — one from Guatemala and one from the U.S. — reunited with Guzmán in Paris.

“We went there with out recreation tickets. We simply had accommodation and our flights, not anything else,” she mentioned. She ended up purchasing resale tickets, for roughly $200 apiece, and took in 4 suits.

Bertha Alicia Guzman, of Torrance, shows some newspaper clippings from World Cups she collected.

Guzmán sifts thru newspaper clippings of International Cups previous.

(James Carbone / Los Angeles Occasions)

Guzmán were given married within the period between the ’98 International Cup and the 2002 event. After a yr the husband was once historical past, whilst her true pastime remained.

“I’m fortunately divorced, as a result of my ex-husband didn’t like football,” she mentioned with amusing.

Of all her International Cup escapades, the very best on her finances was once South Africa 2010, which value her about $4,000. Essentially the most dull was once Japan-South Korea 2002. And the most productive was once Germany 2006.

That consult with to Teutonic lands exceeded her expectancies. Guzmán mentioned the stereotype that Germans are stand-offish is much off the mark. She thinks many International Cup fanatics that summer season, together with her, have been struck through the overflowing cordiality, either one of the organizers and the country’s population.

As an example, whilst she was once observing the Portugal-Mexico fit on the Veltins-Area in Gelsenkirchen, older Germans took pride within the vigorous Mexican fanatics, whipping out cameras to document “the loopy issues we have been doing, the painted faces, dancing, consuming. They checked out us with a grin.”

“Germany put in combination an improbable International Cup,” she mentioned. “They have been very good hosts.”

Bertha Alicia Guzman, of Torrance, holds a small soccer ball signed by Mexican professional footballer Jorge Campos.

Guzmán holds a miniature football ball signed through former Mexico nationwide group goalkeeper Jorge Campos.

(James Carbone / Los Angeles Occasions)

After having lived thru seven of them, Guzmán advises those that wish to move to a International Cup to start getting ready once the former event ends. Get started saving up cash and sign up at the legitimate FIFA website online.

Ready till the final minute “is pricey and turns into a nightmare,” she warned.

In Qatar, she’ll after all be rooting for Mexico and her second-favorite group, Brazil. However she insists that whether or not the ones groups win or lose, the emotional top of a International Cup has few if any equivalent.

“It’s one thing gorgeous: coexistence, cordiality, partying, exchanging shirts, taking pictures with folks and dwelling with folks from different cultures,” Guzmán mentioned. “It will have to all the time be like this. Would possibly the arena and human beings all the time get alongside like this.”



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