Mexico Too Good For France

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Mexico dispatched a disapointing France Team 2-0 last night to all but book their place in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup. 

France reeling from the heavy criticism which followed their drab 0-0 draw with Uruguay recalled Florent Malouda for the match and to be fair they looked a whole lot better. Ribery in particular looked lively early on, however Mexico also seemed to be in better shape than when drawing agaoinst South Africa in their opener and they looked just the better team at the end of an entertaining first half which ended 0-0.

In the second half started slowly but as it wore on Mexico started to assert their authority on the game and folowing what was to prove two inspired substitutions, first bringing on Hernandez and then Blanco a few minutes latter they finally took the lead when Hernandez beat the French offside trap to calmly round the keeper and tap the ball into an empty net.

France seemed to be shell shocked by this and never really mounted any attempt at a comeback. It was no surprise when Barrera was brought down in the box and Blanco calmly smashed the penalty into the roof of the net to sew the game up.

Mexico were good value for their win and despite looking somewhat lighweight up front they could be one of the surprise teams of the finals. As for France they will need a lot of luck to avoid another ignominiuos early exit to add to their Euro 2008 woes.

Final Score

Mexico 2-0 France

  • Venue: Peter Mokaba Stadium
  • Attendance: 45,372
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    South Africa 1-1 Mexico

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    The 2010 World Cup kicked off in style with an impressive opening ceremony followed by an entertaining opener in which a draw was just about fair.

    Mexico dominated early and could easily have ran up a comfortable lead in the first half had they been a bit sharper in front of goal.  Mexico did have the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside. It looked a strange decision at first but the replay showed it to be correct and any fears of home bias creeping in were unfounded.

    South Africa looked a lot brighter in the second half and in the 55th minute the very impressive Tshabalala struck a lovely goal to send the home nations fans ecstatic.

    Mexico’s reaction was to bring on Guardado in an attempt to freshen things up, however it was not until they brought on veteran star Blanco that they started to look more threatening.

    Finally with time ticking away Mexico got the goal their inventive play deserved when Marquez found himself unmarked at the far post and he calmly shot home to level the scores. This silenced some of the vuvuzelas in the crowd which had made the game sound more like an apiary than a football stadium. However there was still time for some late drama when Mphela went agonisingly close to snatching the winner for South Africa when hitting the post in the last minute. Overall a draw was just about the right result , ensuring that the record of no host nation losing their opening game continued and offering some hope for both in the tournament.

    Goal Scorers

    South Africa Tshabalala, 55 

    Mexico Marquez, 79

    Attendance - 84,490

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    The World Cup Begins With South Africa v Mexico

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    Finally the waiting is over and the action begins with hosts South Africa playing the opening game against Mexico at 15.00.  The opening ceremony begins at 13.00 UK time and should be something to see so if you get the chance tune in to ITV to watch.

    South Africa v Mexico looks an interesting game with both coming into the finals in good form, and being the home nation the South Africans will have a tremendous level of support. Back in 2002 this home support coupled with some home biased refereeing decisions allowed South Korea to progress all the way to the semi finals, but can Bafana Bafana repeat the feat or will they become the 1st home nation ever to fall at the 1st stages.

    The draw has not been too kind to them placing them with France who were beaten finalists four years ago Mexico who look to have one of their best international squads ever, and the unpredictable but talented South Americans Uruguay. It could have been worse, but not a whole lot.

    France have not looked the team of old recently and although they cant be written off they could be vulnerable and I wouldn’t dismiss the chance of a major 2002 style flop. Like that year they have Uruguay to play and Mexico look technically better than the Denmark team which ultimately knocked them out. If there is tobe a shock inthis group this could be it.

    Uruguay have Diego Forlan who despite not making the grade at Old Trafford has proved to be a deadly finisher and given they are defensively sound they could always pull off a shock 1-0 win against one of their opponents.

    Mexico look very good and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility for them to reach the quarter finals. They will expect to take one of the qualifying places and could sneak the group.

    Unfortunately for the hosts despite them being on a 12 match unbeaten run I really cant see how they can progress from this group  and expect it to be unlucky 13 today as they lose to Mexico.  A defeat will mean they will have to get something from Uruguay in their second game, then hope for a miracle against France.

    As for a result prediction Its 2-1 to Mexico in the opener for me.

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    Woeful Performances By France & Italy in Latest Wam Up Matches

    Raymond Domenech
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    Some mixed performances in the latest World Cup warm up matches including awful results for the 2006 finalists France & Italy.  

    Friday 4th June 2010


    France 0-1 China PR
    France were looking to get back on track following their disappointing1-1 draw withTunisia in their last game, but despite staring with a strong side including  Franck Ribery, Florent Malouda, and Patrice Evra they finished with another embarrassing result. Their form is dreadful going into the Finals and French fans can only take heart from the fact that surely they can’t keep playing this badly. Their manager Raymond Domenech (right) must be feeling the pressure now, and a poor showing in the Finals will almost certainly bring his tenure to an end.  

    Japan 0-2 Ivory Coast
    The scoreline is of little importance to the Ivory Coast, (who looked good in the game) compared to the injury to Didier Drogba. The news of his broken arm is not only a blow to their fans but to the whole tournament as he is Africa’s most talismanic player and his loss will probably cost the Ivory Coast any chance they had of making the last 16.

    Thursday 3rd June 2010


    Germany 3-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
    Nice and comfortable for Germany, who are looking quietly confident going into the Finals.

    Italy 1-2 Mexico
    It is debatable whether this was a poor performance by Italy or a good one by Mexico, who again looked good in possession and seem to have improved their defense markedly since their dominant but ultimately futile performance against England a couple of weeks ago. Mexico swept into a deserved 2 goal lead and Italy rarely looked like getting back into the game only managing a consolation goal in the 89th minute. Italy will need to rediscover their goal scoring form if they are to make much of an impact , while on this showing Mexico are genuine contenders for the Quarter Finals at least.

    Spain 1-0 South Korea
    Neither side looked particularly interested in what looked more like a practice match than a competitive game. The Spanish starting 11 included a lot of second string names so it would be unwise to read too much from this performance.
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    England Win But Are Far From Impressive

    Ledley King, Tottenham Hotspur captain
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    The 3-1 scoreline looks emphatic, but it disguises a rather below par performance by England and is flattered by a dodgy goal from Peter Crouch and Mexico’s total lack of ideas in and around the England penalty area. Still there are some positives to be taken by both teams and they could meet in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup assuming they finish in the same qualifying position in their respective groups.

    On the slightly bumpy Wembley pitch, which didn’t seem to play as badly as we were led to believe it would Mexico dominated possession but looked totally bereft of ideas in the final third of the pitch, while England can take heart from some find defensive blocking and from the goals, two of which were from defenders who should have sealed their places in the 23 man squad.

    The opening goal was nicely worked and showed Mexico’s weakness in defence – lacking big men to deal with set pieces. The goal cam from a Steven Gerrard corner which should have been dealt with easily, however it alluded the Mexico defense and a crisp header back across goal from Peter Crouch was met by Ledley King who had an easy nod in for 1-0.

    The second goal was more questionable and an offside Peter crouch managed to bundle the ball in with his arm following a nice save by the Mexican keeper. On another night this goal would have been chalked off but is stood and England looked in Cruise mode, however in first half injury time Mexico got a goal back when Guillermo Franco pounced on a rebound to knock the ball in.

    Fortunately for England a Rocket shot from Glen Johnson just after the break restored the 2 goal lead and effectively allowed England to relax a bit and probably ensured that Mexico were content to play possession football for the remainder of the game.

    So whats the positives for England:

    Well we know that Leighton Banes is not good enough at this stage of his career – he was partially at fault for the goal and was cruelly exposed on several occasions by the speedy Mexican wingers. Finding this out now is a positive and I will be amazed if he makes the 23.  Ledley King and Glen Johnson both look composed and should be in the 23 and Arron Lennon has the pace to upset any back four in the world.  Overall the team is starting to take shape now and at full strength England will be hard to beat and have shown they can win games without dominating them.

    As for Mexico they have shown that they can pass the ball and retain possession, which will stand them in good stead in the rarified atmosphere of South Africa, but look suspect in defense and need to convert their possession and chances into goals. They should at least make the last 16 on this performance.

    So overall a win for England but the stats are not impressive 7 shots to Mexico’s 16, 3 corners to 7, out passed out tackled and only 34.3% possession. One gets the feeling that if Mexico had really came to play that the scoreline could have been different and if they were to meet in the World Cup Quarter Finals I wouldn’t bet too much on a repeat result.

    On this showing England will struggle in the latter stages.

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    England v Mexico dont expect too many answers

    England’s penultimate warm up match for the 2010 World Cup Finals is a match against a talented Mexico team, who themselves are in preparation for the finals. This is an interesting choice of game but it is unlikely to give much indication of how either team will perform in the finals themselves. This will no doubt be punctuated by substitutions and any hopes of free flowing football will be hampered by the disgraceful Wembley pitch.

    Lets hope no player picks up an injury this close to the finals in what is a bit of a meaningless match, which could easily end up a draw as neither team will want to show their full hand at this stage.

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    World Cup 2010 Preview Group A

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    GROUP A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

    The 2010 World Cup Finals will kick off on 11th June 2010 with two games from this group – host nation South Africa playing Mexico and France Playing Uruguay. This is an intriguing group and certainly has not done the hosts any favours.

    France will be strong favourites to progress but one only has to look back to the 2002 Finals to see that things don’t always go according to plan. However they are not under the same level of pressure as they were in 2002 and they showed in 2006 that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Their Euro 2008 campaign was a bit of a disaster and they only just scraped past a plucky Republic of Ireland team thanks to a blatant hand ball, however it will be a major surprise if they don’t top the group.

    Mexico came through the CONCACAF group in second place behind the USA and although they looked comfortable in qualifying they are a much better team at home than away as qualifying defeats in El Salvador and Honduras testify. They have also looked a little less than impressive of late with their last three games being narrow wins over New Zealand and North Korea and a 0-0 draw with Iceland. This is not particularly impressive form and being poor travelers their expected second place in the group is by no means assured.

    South Africa who qualified as hosts will benefit from  strong local support and will be well suited by the climate especially as a large contingent of the squad will be home based players and are in good form having gained a credible 1-1- draw away to Paraguay recently. They will be hard to beat and could take the second qualifying place if they can avoid defeat against Mexico in their opening fixture.

    Uruguay struggled to qualify finally winning a playoff against Costa Rica to gain their place however they are an experienced team and given the population of Uruguay is only around 4 million they have done wonders to qualify.  They are characteristically tenacious and in Marcelo Zalayeta and Diego Forlan have strikers who could snatch a goal against any team.  They haven’t played any international matches since they qualified so their form is hard to assess  but it will be a surprise if they get soundly beaten by any team.

    So who will qualify? Well no prizes for guessing that I will predict France to go through probably as group winners, however this is one of the more open groups and any of the other three could qualify for the last 16, although it would be a major upset if they went much further. I just give the edge to Mexico who probably have the strongest squad of the three and they have the experience needed in tough groups such as this. Both Uruguay and South Africa will push them close but neither looks good enough to beat Mexico or France so the final Prediction is:

    1 France

    2 Mexico

    3 Uruguay

    4 South Africa

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    Mexico Struggle Past North Korea in World Cup Warm Up Match

    2010 FIFA World Cup logo
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    Mexico looked far from impressive against North Korea during their a 2-1 victory in La Comarca last night. To be fair the North Koreans dit play 11 men behind the ball for most of the match but only  Javier Hernandez and possibly Braulio Luna looked anything like the standard needed to make an impression in the World Cup in South Africa especially given their tough group. On this showing North Korea will make things difficult for their opponents but it will take a miracle for them to progress through the group stages.

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