Mexico vs. France: El Tri bids France’s World Cup adieu

Mexico vs. France: 2-0. A scrappy Mexico team outplayed Les Bleues in today's match, frustrating some of the world’s top stars.

Luca Bruno?AP
Mexico vs. France ends in upset. C'est fini? France's Eric Abidal and Abou Diaby, right, hang their heads after losing the France vs. Mexico match today at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa.

France vs. Mexico began as a classic match between a world class soccer power pressing its methodical offense against a disciplined, scrappy team eager to draw blood on the counterattack.

Mexico came out hard, fouling the talented Frenchmen early and lighting up the left flank with quick runs toward goal.

They got the most chances early, rattling the veteran French defense and forcing careless mistakes.

IN PICTURES: 10 World Cup players to watch

That set the tone for the game: Mexico simply wanted it more.

Mexico's Giovani dos Santos almost scored in the first few minutes with a low drive that hit the post, but he was offside.

Then, teammate Guillermo Franco pulled the trigger after a nice move, but missed high right.

A few minutes later, Mexico's Carlos Salcido just missed the far post on a low left-footed strike. It was the first of two good chances from him.

France, meanwhile, controlled the midfield with some nice passing, but their attack was too slow to develop and was repeatedly broken up by a tough Mexican defense.

Neither team really got anything going in the early part of the second half, which spurred Mexico’s fiery coach Javier Aguirre to take the initiative by putting in warhorse Cuauhtémoc Blanco, the tournament’s oldest player.

Within a minute, Mexico scored.

Javier Hernández slotted in a gimme after France set an offside trap that failed to entice the linesman. Hernández found himself alone with the goalkeeper for a simple put-away no player should ever miss.

The offside call could have gone either way, and French fans will be upset to have their World Cup bid fizzle on a questionable decision by the officials.

Ten minutes later, though, Mexico’s victory was secured by none other than Blanco who placed a precision penalty kick inches from the left post.

Mexico will celebrate a well-deserved victory against a top team, and they head into their next match with Uruguay virtually assured of advancing to the next round.

France, ironically, will be rooting for Mexico in that match. They’ll need El Tri to crush a strong Uruguay team, coupled with a solid win over South Africa to squeak into the next round. The chances of both things happening are very slim.

It’s a difficult result to swallow for France, given the depth of talent on the team. While Mexico has no individual players rated in ESPN's Top 50, France has six, led by midfielder Franck Ribery.

Criticism of coach Raymond Domenech is sure to skyrocket. Why couldn’t he inspire the team? Why couldn’t he unite them? Why didn’t Les Bleues dominate opponents as they should?

France will have four long years in the wilderness to figure it out. Thankfully for the next coach, there won’t be any shortage of top talent to work with.

IN PICTURES: 10 World Cup players to watch

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