ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia: A group of Mexico fans have had an unusual companion on their travels through Russia to follow their team in the World Cup: A life-size cardboard cut-out of their friend who pulled out of the trip of a lifetime at the last minute.
"We organised the trip, he was included in the list. And in the end he cancelled everything because his girlfriend did not let him come. It was our duty as friend to make joke out of it," Mexico fan Matthieu Janelle told Reuters TV.
The huge cardboard picture shows his bearded friend, only named as Javier, with a sad look on his face wearing a T-shirt saying "My girlfriend wouldn’t let me come".
Their cardboard companion has travelled with the group of friends in a minivan they designed specially for the tournament and they danced with it at the fanzone in Rostov-On-Don, where Mexico, who upset Germany 1-0 in their first game, play South Korea on Saturday.
"We had done everything and he left us hanging," explained Daniel Garza.
"We painted this picture, showed it to him, and took it out to the party. And it did better than us. The truth is, it (the cardboard figure) was having a good time."
(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)