Mexico pushes France to brink of elimination

The 2006 World Cup finalists are one step closer to elimination after France suffered a 2-0 loss to Mexico on Thursday at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

With a draw and now a loss, France doesn’t look at all like the team who nearly won it all four years ago. Against Mexico, it failed to play as a team and El Tri capitalized on its spotty defence.

Both goals in the match were scored by substitutes.

Javier Hernandez scored the winning goal when he broke free of the French defence after a forward pass by Rafael Marquez. He then made it past French keeper Hugo Lloris and sent it easily into the empty net to put Mexico up 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Replays show that Hernandez may have been a touch offside, but as no whistle blew on the play, he continued on to net the goal.

The insurance goal was scored by Cuauhtemoc Blanco on a penalty kick in the 79th minute. French defender Eric Abidal fouled Pablo Barrera in the box, and Blanco converted on the penalty, slipping it just past Lloris in the lower left corner.

Les Bleus have yet to score one goal in the tournament, as their poor play before the World Cup seems to have followed them to South Africa.

Their best chance in this match came in the 55th minute on a powerful boot by Florent Malouda, but the high ball was calmly grabbed by Mexican keeper Oscar Perez.

Heading into the final match of the round robin stage, Mexico can secure its spot in the round of 16 with a point. It will play Uruguay on June 22 and if the game ends in a draw, both teams will advance.

France, meanwhile, must defeat South Africa on June 22 to have even a hope of making it out of the group. Realistically though, chances are Les Bleus will be heading home early this year.