Thursday, June 17, 2010
World Cup 2010 Game 20: Mexico 2, France 0
Well I was rooting for Mexico. Sort of.
I guess it is appropriate these two teams should play on the day that the Lakers and Celtics square off for the NBA championship. Like that game, this one had the consolation that one of the teams would lose.
Strictly from a regional affiliation, my desire was to see Mexico do well. They had never beaten a former World Cup champion, never beaten France. Their record against European powers is abysmal. Until Concacaf teams can beat the European powers, the United States will always be viewed as a light weight power no matter how much it dominates the region. So, yeah, America is helped by Mexico doing well. Helped in rankings and in keeping the regional interest alive.
That said, Mexico is a hard side to like. From their chippy play to their arrogance to their boorish fans (who threw batteries at Landon Donovan whenever he took a corner kick at Estadio Azteca) the image that surrounds this team is one of boorishness. That's a shame, really, because players like dos Santos are athletically gifted, and they always give the effort.
France, on the other hand, gave a lackluster performance and is in danger of going home without a goal. Amazingly, though, they are still alive. If Mexico and Uruguay tie, they both go through, but if one gets a result, France could go through on goal differential. I'm assuming Uruguay has the tie breaker with Mexico, so Mexico needs a result in order to win the group (and avoid Argentina in the round of 16). Best case scenario for France would be for Uruguay to beat Mexico by two goals (or more) and then they would have to beat South Africa by three or more goals. The host nation similarly could go through with a rout of France and some help in the other game, neither of which seems likely. Still, with Argentina looking good, Mexico and Uruguay do have something to play for and that is one small lining of hope for France.
The Mexican player definitely was offside for the first goal, but I don't have much sympathy for the French. If you watch the play, they assumed the call would be made and pulled up on defense. This is the World Cup guys, you have to play hard for ninety minutes.