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Posted by Fernando Casarez on 06/11/2010

Making history was the goal for Mexico in the opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, getting a first ever victory in an opening match was something reachable for the squad of El Vasco Aguirre, but once again not taking advantage of the best opportunities on goal and the poor performance of goalkeeper Óscar Pérez, finished the match with just one point, and luckily the team didn’t lose at the end of the game. Being Rafa Márquez the Mexican hero, scoring the equalizer at the end.

The Mexican team will wait for the result between France and Uruguay, but after what I saw today, the Mexican side needs some changes, maybe today the tension of playing against the host, and the tradition of El Tri of playing better against teams such as Brazil, Italy and other historic squads better than the rest of rivals, could help for the next two matches, but today I expected more of a team formed by the best generation of Mexican players ever.

The stage was set for the team of Javier Aguirre and the first 40 minutes of the game were great, the Mexican side was better, and just at the second minute Giovani dos Santos had the first chance for El Tri, but a knee of a defenseman avoid the early disaster for the home side. Gio, Guille and Vela got chances, and even a goal was disallowed for offside but the Mexican looked superior until the 40th minute.

Then South Africa created danger for the first time, Mexico once again suffered on the corners, then in the second half, in the first shot on goal Tshabalala at the 55th minute unleashed the emotions of a whole country with the first goal of the WC.

Later on Modise had two clear chances on goal but El Conejo with his best action of the game, avoid the second goal, Mexico seemed inferior, unconfident, without ideas and in general with a totally different mentality compared with the first half, but later, former Mexican captain Rafael Márquez, received the ball after a terrible error of the South African defense and in correct position and totally alone he finished perfectly to beat the goalkeeper and tied the game giving a point to La Selección.

My conclusions first of all El Conejo Pérez, should remain on the bench for the next games, I don’t understand why El Vasco insists on putting him in the starting 11, but today his lack of reflexes, his numerous doubts and his problems with speed showed that he should not be the first option for the team, something many of Mexicans said since weeks ago.

Giovani was the best of the team, and the line-up with Andrés Guardado from the start should improve the performance for the next game. Also I would put Javier Hernández from the start in the place of Guille Franco, that didn’t look quite strong at the front of the Mexican attack.

Now let’s all Mexicans hope that El Vasco Aguirre understands that changes are good, El Conejo is not needed, the team will have to play to win at least one of the next two matches, and a defeat will mean almost certain elimination.

Tomorrow the critics will go all over Aguirre, but looking the bright side, Mexico maybe won’t be taken so seriously after today’s match, and there would be chances in the next games. Anyhow, Mexico will need to defeat France or Uruguay to think in the next round and the South Africans will need to improve and take their chances to beat their next rivals. At least today the Bafana Bafana avoid to be the first home team to lose their opening game, let’s see if they can go through the next round as every single previews host nation.

Next games South Africa v. Uruguay next Wednesday and Mexico v. France on Thursday.

Thank you for all your comments, it's a pleasure to recive feedback from everywhere out there I look forward for you to keep following the blog during the Tournament


Posted by James on 06/11/2010

Hi Fernando,

Overall a very insightful article. I couldn't agree more with your proposed changes. Javier Hernandez should be unleashed against France on Thursday. As well, Guardado created a lot of danger for South Africa. I feel his creativity and talent are surely missing when Mexico has an abundance of possession. After watching Uruguay v. France, I am still convinced that Mexico can overcome its rivals and win the group. Although, a win would have surely helped the cause. Here's a question for you: How do you feel about the 4-3-3? Do you think it's time to revert to a traditional 4-4-2 so that Efrain Juarez and Guardado can occupy the middle of the park? I personally think Mexico should stick with the 4-3-3 because it maximizes the offensive talent. But as we both have said, personnel changes need to be made if Mexico plan to progress and advance to the next round. Thanks for the article and keep it up!

Posted by Ricardo Salinas on 06/11/2010

What's with the constant criticism towards Franco? I think the Conejo subject is a matter of opinion, considering Michel is not anywhere near World Cup level (his being at Chivas helped his chances, let's be honest) and Conejo saved at least one good chance today. Now Franco vs Hernandez, considering Hernandez is over revolutionized, to hot, to strung up to take his chances cooly and with patience. Franco is at least there, and I agree his missing todays two chances (and the third superbly blocked by the southafrican goalkeeper), he is key to connecting both Gio and Vela up top. I agree Hernandez form four months ago was unbelievable, himself being Chivas (the rest of the team were brief moments of flare by also internationals Medina and Bautista), but today he is too impatient and must learn to calm down and play the ball and retain it like Franco does. Besides, todays main problem was defence, with an overly attacking Aguilar and Salcido leaving Rodriguez and Osorio alone...

Posted by cassadamius on 06/11/2010

I could not agree more about your keeper - I thought he had a shocker, and against France will not be able to stand up to any onslaught. In your opinion, why was he chosen over Ochoa - becuase if it was experience, it didn't work.

Posted by Victor on 06/11/2010

El Vasco needs to make some changes for the next game. For starters, bench el Conejo Perez and put Memo Ochoa to start the next game. And bench Paul Aguilar and Guille Franco and start Javier Hernandez and Andres Guardado for the next match. They'll make a difference for the next match.

Posted by Ricardo on 06/11/2010

Conejo was chosen over Memo Ochoa because Ochoa's closing his eyes whenever there's a one on one, he's lost a lot of confidence and the mexican media, fueling Luis Michel, have helped in this loss. Hernandez is too faulty right now, he needs time, he needs patience. Hernandez is not finishing plays, he's swinging and missing, to impatient.

Posted by Federico on 06/11/2010

I agree wholeheartedly with pretty much every insight you've offered... with one significant exception.

Personally, I think Franco is one Mexico's strongest, if not THE strongest, strikers.
And though Hernandez is talented, he's very flawed in both his style and judgement.
Such is clearly seen in vs Italy, and even today.

Perez should really step down from goal keeping, with his apparent over-confidence, and the defence should be enforced.
Those changes done, I think we've got a very strong team.

Posted by Fernando Cásarez on 06/11/2010

Hello, first thanks for your comments, now in order, first to James, I think the 4-3-3 formation of Mexico is more a 4-3-1-2, because Gio do not play quite in the attack but more by the side, so I would not see too much trouble with the change of Guardado and changing to a 4-4-2 formation with both Guardado and Gio creating football by the sides, and also Juárez coming from the bench would give a lot to the team.

Now about Franco he didn't take all his chances today and also I feel Chihcarito is more explosive, I would like to see him from the start but let's face it neither of them could break the rival's defense.

And about El Conejo, I don't thinks he's to blame for the goal, and he did a good couple of saves, but the overall feeling seeing him is of a guy that do not bring confidence to the team, too much doubts, lack of speed and honestly I thinks he should be the 3rd choice for the team, not even the second. He can be a good keeper but he does not inspire security.

Posted by Noel on 06/12/2010

Here's what I recommend:
- Replace Franco by "Venado" Medina.
- Instead of Aguilar, replace by Pablo Barrera.
- Guardado should only be used in the 2nd
half if at all.
- dos Santos is only good for 1st half. In 2nd
half replace with J. Hernandez.

This should plug any deficiencies the team displayed in today's game.

I believe this is the winning combination that can take them far in the tournament.

Posted by Juan Carlos Cásarez Salgado on 06/12/2010

Mexico..... always is the same..... always one step closer, but we can´t do the difference.
Good game, no goals.
I´m losing my faith, it will be like other years....every other year.

Posted by john on 06/12/2010

can someone tell me why are we not complaining about the offside goal , how bad was that mistake

Posted by Fernando Cásarez on 06/12/2010

Hello John, can you tell me of what mistake are you talking about? If it is the goal disallowed to Vela, it's a correct call, the rule is that there should be two men between the offensive player that receives the ball and the goal and there was only one South African player at the line, so it's an offside and no goal.

In the two goals there are no offsides, so I think you are talking about Vela's play.


Posted by Lee on 06/12/2010

Very nice article, I feel that Blanco shouldn't have played yesterday's game. He just could not keep up with the pace. Albeit his good visions and playmaking, it was not good enough especially when the Mexicans lost the possession a few times in their opponent's half due to his lack of pace and stamina.

Nevertheless a good and experienced player

Posted by Adukule Fred on 06/12/2010

Having read fernando's interpretation of an offside,it leaves me confused,can somebody affirm this to me please.Otherwise I've witnessed NO offside calls with one man between the posts and the offensive player

Posted by Gregorio on 06/12/2010

Good article! I think Mexico should take heart, they should have three points of course, but France looks terrible, Uruguay is more unsure of themselves than Mexico was at the start of the second half and everyone knew it would be very difficult to beat South Africa in the opening match. A 1 - 1 draw is not a bad result all things considered and the Uruguay / France result couldn't have been better for El Tri either.

Posted by Fernando Cásarez on 06/12/2010

Maybe this will help, this is an extract of the Laws of the Game, and you can also read them all at

The offside rule is the number 11 or XI

Offside Position

It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

A player is in an offside position if:
• he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the
second-last opponent

A player is not in an offside position if:
• he is in his own half of the field of play or
• he is level with the second-last opponent or
• he is level with the last two opponents

All of these rules apply at the moment the pass to the offensive player is made

So, following the rule, unfortunately for Mexico yesterday's disallowed goal, was a correct call

Posted by Hugo on 06/13/2010

I was disappointed that Mexico didn't win, they had plenty of chances to score in the first half but didn't and on that controversial offside, if Vela wasn't so greedy, Mexico should had scored the 1st goal and won the game 2-1. The ball was already about to go in from the Franco header, but than Vela kicked it while it was on the line.

Posted by alma, hija de dona Maria on 06/14/2010

Team Mexico took care of business. No frils just business. Team Mexico knew a job needed bo be done and it had to be done well! That they did!Wooooo-hooooooooo!This was accomplished at one moment when they team Mexico became one;0)

To recap: South Africa vs Mexico, both teams did outstanding! A tie was set in the history of the world cup 2010! woooooooo-hoooooo!

Team Mex! vs France: just play the game;0) you have played against the best latin players and won! You have played the best int'l players too and won. Just play the game you have played in the past that got you to the world cup South Africa 2010 soccer games! ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores ;0)take care of business...any ?'s. ;0)-

Posted by Robert on 06/14/2010

the mexican goalkeeper didn't made a poor performance, the only goal that was scored to him was the defense's mistake

Posted by Lorenzo on 06/15/2010

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get Lupillo of the goal!!

Posted by alex on 06/16/2010

i think that they should pu guillermo as the goalkeeper for mexico so that we can win the game against frace!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by alma hija de maria on 06/26/2010

To the coach of Team Mexico: Remind our boys to take care of business. Team Mex is the business!

'Luck' is simply a bonus that tags itself to the team that performs the best game.

Team Mex needs to put in practice its talent to defend itself...least we forget we come from fighting roots!

The game can be won if team Mex applies what works for Brazil, Portugal;and Paraguay...they show no fear in playing a great game, come what may.Their strategy: never loose focus...World Cup....

It also helps when our boys play the game covering all their basis. This can only be accomplished if our boys play as a team...or as I always say we play as one...strength in numbers!

Team mex needs to let our Indigeno Spirit come out to play the game.

Team Mex:a job needs to be done and, it has to be done well!

Team Mex look in the mirror; you are at the world cup. Team Mex you have not be sent home!!!!!woooo-hoooooo!!!!!any ?'s


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Fernando Casarez: Is a 24-year-old sports journalist who has covered World Cup 2006 and the Summer Olympics in 2004 and 2008. He has worked with three different radio stations at home in Mexico and studied for a Masters in Sports Journalism in Spain. He has also won three UEFA competitions to attend three Champions League finals

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