Mexico must rethink ambitions after Angola draw
HANOVER, June 17 (Reuters) A year after beating Brazil at the same venue, Mexico came crashing back to earth with a frustrating 0-0 draw against Angola and may have to rethink their aim of reaching the final four at the World Cup.
Just three days short of 12 months ago, Mexico beat the world champions 1-0 at the home of Hanover 96 on their way to finishing fourth at the Confederations Cup.
Mexico's victory was no fluke either as they also fluffed a penalty against Brazil.
But Angola's first ever point in their debut finals against Mexico yesterday was equally not achieved by chance even though the Africans were forced to play the final 10 minutes with just 10 men.
Had it not been their first finals, Angola could have pulled off an even greater shock with a bit more endeavour and confidence going forward.
''There are no easy games at this level and you have to have a little bit of luck for the ball to go in the goal,'' was the verdict of Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe.
La Volpe's cliches will ring even hollower on a day when Argentina thumped Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 and the Netherlands saw off the Ivory Coast 2-1, creating their own luck and moving in to the second round of the tournament from Group C.
Should Mexico manage to get out of Group D, they will face either the Argentines or the Dutch in the next phase.
So following an uninspired performance by their team against Angola, Mexican fans look likely to awake from dreams of the semi-finals to the reality of crashing out in the second round for a fourth successive finals But Mexican fans now also face a tense final group game against Portugal after the Angola draw and mathematically face the prospect of being eliminated.
A draw against the Portuguese would see them qualify from the group but only an emphatic victory would resurrect any hopes of achieving their ambitions here.
Reuters PM DS1516