Polokwane: Mexico sealed a fantastic victory over France, defeating them 2-0 in their Group A clash at Polokwane. The French team looked flat footed especially the defense which cost the French a major loss which is most likely to knock them out of the World Cup with one game left.
France started off well dominating the game, laying off good passes in the mid-field, holding good amount of possession. They got one or two set pieces but were not able to bring that quality to find that final touch.
However, Mexico got a great chance in the 8th minute, but Carlos Vela was not able to control his shot after Marquez passed a good ball over the top.
Franco again for Mexico got a good chance in the 12th minute but his shot was over the bar.
Mexico slowly started coming back in the game, creating odd chances. In the 19th minute, Carlos Salcido hit a low shot but his effort was again off the mark.
With half-chances at both ends the game looked in good shape, with both teams creating chances.
France looked much better than their first game as they charged forward putting good passes and keeping good possession.
In the 27th minute Carlos Salcido brought out an individual brilliance, beating the defenders from the left side and trying a shot but his effort was denied by the goalkeeper. Gallas looked flat-footed as he allowed Salcido to make his run instead of attacking it, thereby allowing him to pull the trigger on goal.
Mexico suffered a major blow in the 30th minute as their key striker Carlos Vela was out injured and had to be substituted.
P. Barberra who had just come in as a substitute for Vela made a brave attempt as Salcido crossed a teasing ball, he went for the ball and managed to get some part of his head and the ball flew off just wide of the goal.
In the 37th minute France got a free kick in a good position, however his shot was blocked by the Mexican wall.
The Mexicans were defending well not giving space for the French team to exploit.
In the final minute of the stipulated half time, France got a free kick from a promising position but once again it was a disppointing effort with the teams heading off for half time break with France not having created any genuine chance till then.
Second half resumed in a lively fashion as Mexico looked the better of the two sides, with good passing and holding more possession of the ball.
In the 54th minute Malouda created a good chance for France, setting himself really well and striking a thunderous shot but his shot was punched away by the Mexican goalkeeper.
As both teams were looking for goal, the Mexicans got two free kicks around 58th minute in quick succession but they completely wasted the free kick.
France also made their way forward every now and then but they were never able to break the Mexican defense and create real opportunity.
Mexico stunned the French team in the 64th minute as Hernandez JA scored for the North Americans. He was delivered a superb ball by captain Raphael Marquez. Initially Hernandez looked like he was in an offside position but the replay showed it was very tight as the pass was released and the benefit of the doubt was given to the striker.
The French team looked distorted as they were trailing by 1-0.
Looking for the equalizer, the French players put a good string of passes to create a chance in the 74th minute but once again, were not able to make good use of their opportunity.
Mexico meanwhile looked better and better as the match progressed, playing confidently and the making strikers making some good run.
In the 78th minute France suffered a major blow once again as Mexico was awarded with a penalty. Abidal was the culprit for France for taking down a Mexican striker, P. Barberra in the penalty box.
Blanco, a very experienced campaigner who had come in as a substitute took the penalty to give a two goal lead over France.
France looked completely down and out after the second goal. They were terrible with set pieces.
Meanwhile the Mexican defense continued to remain solid, not letting any space for Riberry or Anelka to make a run.
The Mexican strikers on the other hand looked brisk and were able to outpace the French defenders.
With this victory Mexico registered their first ever win against France in the World cups.
With Uruguay and Mexico heading the group with this result, France are likely to be out of the World Cup 2010.
Henry in the substitute was never called to play.