KLM deletes sombrero tweet after Mexico defeat

THE HAGUE - Dutch airline KLM on Sunday deleted a tweet featuring a picture of a sombrero and a moustache after the Netherlands knocked Mexico out of the World Cup.

The picture, posted just after the 2-1 win put the Netherlands into the quarter finals, also said 'Adios Amigos'. But it quickly sparked a social media storm of criticism with many saying it was racist.

"I'm never flying your shitty airline again," Mexican actor and director Gael Garcia Bernal tweeted to two million followers.

The offending tweet featured an airport "Departures" sign and an infographic of a sombrero, moustache and serape shawl.

"Planning your exit out of South American soon, slave traders," said another angry Twitter user of the picture.

"Such a Dutch tweet - just the wrong side of funny vs arrogant," tweeted another with the hashtag #mexicogate.

Other reactions were more mitigated. "It isn't right but most films show Mexicans that way, why is saying it any worse," read one.

In response, national carrier AeroMexico tweeted a photo of an "Arrivals" sign with the message: "We're proud and await you at home." Meanwhile, 45,000 people dressed in the national orange packed an Amsterdam square to watch the game and erupted with joy after the victory.

"It was an amazing game," said Iris, 22, sporting an orange T-shirt and face paint on the Museumplein square where the match was being shown on giant television screens.

"There was a really bad atmosphere at the start of the match, we were afraid, but it turned into a great party in the final minutes," she told AFP.

The huge crowd was morose in the first half after Mexico took the lead, but the beer-fuelled party picked up after the Netherlands finally scored.