Thanks to the vagaries and nature of my line of work, I was able to watch yesterday's México-France match in its entirety. From the rousing national anthems to the exchange of jerseys, still one of my favorite customs in all of sport.
The second half I managed to watch in one of our building's lounges with a couple of fellow Mexican expatriates. We departed in exultation after witnessing our beloved Tri demolish an indifferent French squad, 2-0. If memory serves me correct, this is El Tri's first win over a traditional fútbol power in a World Cup.
That the French squad is highly dysfunctional or that their effort can be summed up as a collective Gallic shrug doesn't diminish the achievement. Nor is the win besmirched by the fact that Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez was offside by a balding frog's hair prior to scoring the first goal or that Pablo Barrera took a dive on his way to earning the penalty kick.
Here's a brief analysis by the experten... Pinche Klinsmann Some thoughts on yesterday's proceedings:
- I have been beating this drum for a couple of weeks but why is Óscar Pérez (below, trying to pull a wool over our eyes) still starting at goal for México? Yes, he posted a clean sheet but that had to more with the French being allergic to taking shots on goal than with his goalkeeping prowess. I understand that after rocketing a shot off towards the Mexican goal, Florent Malouda had to go to the sideline and get an epinephrine shot before he went into anaphylactic shock. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
- México potentially loses 2 starters for the next match: Carlos Vela (injury) and Efraín Juárez (accumulated yellow cards). Truthfully, it pains me to say it but based on the past 2 matches, it's not that big of a deal. Vela has not been in top form when it comes to capitalizing on scoring chances . Maybe he's rusty since he doesn't get on the field much with Arsenal. Juárez should get an Oscar nomination for his rendition of the the invisible man since South Africa 2010 kicked off .
- One way to tell that France didn't want to play is that they had more than 10 set pieces and didn't convert any of them into scores against my shorter countrymen. Then again, the Mexican back line was solid all match long. That's the best I've seen them play in a long time.
Great win for México which more than likely puts them into the next round. The question now is if they go for the tie against Uruguay (causing both to advance) or go for the win to avoid running into Argentina in the next round?
On a related/unrelated note, a South African man was beaten to death by his wife and kids because he changed the channel on the television to watch a World Cup match instead of the "religious program" his family was watching. Tragic note to be sure, but how is a World Cup match which is attended by functioning adults sporting painted faces and all manner of accouterments not a "religious program"?