Hernandez 64, Blanco 79 (pen)
France came into the game off the back of a laboured 0-0 draw with Uruguay in their opening 2010 World Cup game. One change was made from that game, Florent Malouda started on the left, with Franck Ribery assuming the playmaker role from the disappointing Yoann Gourcuff. Just like in the previous game they failed to create any clear-cut chances, with Malouda and Ribery having the best chances, albeit from long range. Les Bleus lacked a cutting edge and left Nicolas Anelka all alone up front again, with no service getting to the Chelsea striker. The opening goal, from Manchester United bound, Javier Hernandez, came from slack French defending, as he beat the offside trap to dribble past Hugo Lloris and tap the ball into an empty net. From then on the French players’ collective heads dropped and they never looked like getting back into the game.
Cuauhtemoc Blanco then converted a penalty 10 minutes from time to condemn France to a defeat that sees them needing to beat South Africa in their final group game and hope there is a winner in the Uruguay-Mexico game. The desire to win the match was sorely lacking from France, with substitutes like Thierry Henry and Djibril Cisse warming up but not being used and not even offering themselves to Coach Raymond Domenech. The Coach wore a stoic look on his face throughout the game, as if he really did not have a clue what to do. Indeed he looked resigned to the fact that he is a lame-duck coach and does not want to attempt to turn the side around.
There have been rumours of players not having respect for the coach and almost refusing to play for him. This despite the fact that they are professional players, playing in a World Cup , with squad members such as Henry playing in his final international tournament. The team lacked invention, determination and a genuine goal threat, despite boasting talented names such as Ribery, Gourcuff and Anelka. France are not actually out of the competition, but they do not look like scoring a goal and will find it tough going to beat a South African team that still harbour dreams of making the last 16 and will have the crowd behind them. There is also the matter of Uruguay and Mexico conspiring to get a draw which will eliminate Les Bleus, regardless if they beat the hosts. France look dangerously on course to not scoring a single goal in the competition for the second time in the last three World Cups.
Take nothing away from Mexico, they looked a very organised side, oozing with talented youngsters like Hernandez, Giovanni Dos Santos and Carlos Vela, coupled together with veterans Carlos Salcido and Blanco. They were in good form and look set to qualify for the knockout stages- a feat they always seem to manage in World Cups. France already look like they want to begin their holidays early, they could get their wish on the form they are showing.