SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — The Mexican national soccer team beat Paraguay 4-2 in an international friendly match in front of tens of thousands of supporters at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara Tuesday evening.

Around 40,000 avid fans were at Levi’s Stadium Tuesday, most of them backing Mexico. Stadium officials hoped the match would solidify a united North American bid for the 2026 World Cup among the U.S., Mexico and Canada, with Levi’s Stadium being one of the venues and the San Francisco Bay Area designated as a host city.

Levi’s is one of 17 U.S. stadiums still in contention to host matches. The list will eventually be narrowed down to 10 stadiums in the final round of eliminations. The hope for Tuesday’s match was to show that soccer has a large enough fan base to sustain the international sensation that is the World Cup.

Fans in Santa Clara were on board with having Levi’s as a potential World Cup host.

“I think if any of the places in the Bay Area that have a strong fan base that likes sports–it’s this one. You have a lot of people culturally who follow fútbol,” said Shaen Baigorria, who was watching the match.

Both teams came into Tuesday’s match looking to turn around fortunes. “El Tri” had won only one of their last six games since the 2018 World Cup before winning a friendly last weekend over Chile in front of nearly 50,000 fans at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The victory came on the first game by new manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino.

Meanwhile, Paraguay has not won a match since October 2017 and were seen as heavy underdogs to the Mexicans.

 

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