World Cup Recap - France vs. Mexico|
(Thursday, June 17th)
Final Score: Mexico 2, France 0
Polokwane, South Africa (Sports Network) - Mexico took advantage of two
second-half gaffes by France defender Eric Abidal to earn a 2-0 win in FIFA
World Cup Group A action on Thursday.
Javier Hernandez buried a goal after being kept onside by inches in the 64th
for the first Mexico World Cup goal against France since the 1966 tournament
before Cuauhtemoc Blanco buried a penalty kick 11 minutes from time to take
the suspense out of the closing minutes.
With the win, Mexico moves level with Uruguay on points atop the group after
two matches. France and South Africa face long odds to advance, with just a
point each out of their first two group matches.
"It was a very even game in which the first team to score was probably going
to win," said Mexico's head coach Javier Aguirre. "It was a very difficult
victory. The French pressed us from the start of the match, and the first half
was very tough. Things got easier in the second half. We now have 90 minutes
against Uruguay to reach our first goal, which is to qualify for the Round of
Mexico carried the play to France for the majority of the first half, although
it remained scoreless at the interval.
A Giovani Dos Santos shot hit the post in the second minute to give the French
an early scare as the Mexicans pressed from the beginning.
Mexico forward Carlos Vela had another chance in the eighth minute when he
received a long ball from defender Rafael Marquez and drove into the France
penalty area, but his left-footed shot went well off target.
Mexico's Guillermo Franco had a turning shot from the top of the 18-yard box
miss badly as well just three minutes later.
France attacker Frank Ribery had a tough-angled chance go wide in the 14th
minute as the Bayern Munich star tried to get his side into the game.
Mexico's Carlos Salcido fired a left-footed shot low and wide in the 19th
minute before cutting into the area from the left side and firing on goal in
the 27th minute. France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris knocked the ball away with his
best save of the game to that point on the latter chance.
The second half started with the French earning most of the possession, but
generating very little with it.
Mexico finally got the goal it had been looking for in the 64th minute when
Marquez chipped a ball to the edge of the 18 that was run onto by Hernandez
behind the defense. Hernandez was left alone after he barely escaped the
offside trap, being kept onside by Abidal. Hernandez then cut around Lloris
and deposited the ball into the empty net.
"I don't know what to say -- it's a real disappointment," said French head
coach Raymond Domenech. "The match turned on a stroke of bad luck, and we
never managed to get on track. We showed good intentions and desire, but
there's still something not quite right."
Abidal took down Pablo Barrera in the area in the 78th minute to give the
Mexicans the penalty kick.
Blanco buried the chance low to the left post to put the Mexicans up 2-0. With
the goal, the 37-year-old Blanco became not only the third oldest man to score
in the World Cup, but the first Mexican to score in three different World Cups
(1998, 2002 and 2010).
Mexico closes out its group stage against Uruguay on Tuesday with a strong
chance to advance to its fifth straight knockout round. France plays South
Africa on Tuesday, and both countries need a win and for Mexico and Uruguay to
not end in a draw to have any chance to advance.
06/18 01:43:13 ET