Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup Review: Viva le Mexique!

Two North American neighbors played against a pair of European sides in key World Cup matches Thursday and today. While one side overwhelmed and outplayed their cross-Atlantic rivals the other nearly paid the price for a lax defense. Here’s our overview of the Mexico-France and U.S.-Slovenia matches.

Lo Bueno (The Good)…

Would it be hyperbole to say that Mexico’s 2-0 win over France yesterday was their best victory since the Battle of Puebla?

The French press has ripped their side and rightly so after Mexico thoroughly dominated and outmatched Les Blues. Javier “el Chicharito” Hernandez opened the scoring in the 64th-minute after beating the offside trap by a hair and dribbling past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Cuauhtemoc Blanco buried a penalty kick fifteen minutes later, and ensured a historic and well-deserved victory for El Tri:

Historically, Hernandez’ goal came fifty-six years after his grandfather scored against France in the World Cup. Furthermore, Blanco became the first Mexican player to score in three different World Cups as well as the oldest Latin American player to score a Cup goal.

Mexico’s final group match comes on Tuesday against Uruguay. Both sides would qualify for the round of 16 with a tie though don’t be surprised if they aim for a win that cold see them avoid a red-hot Argentina squad in the next stage.

Lo Malo (The Bad)…

I’m a tried and true fan of the U.S. and I’m utterly disappointed at their 2-2 draw with Slovenia. But not due to the blankety-blank-bank of a ref who inexplicably disallowed a legit U.S. goal minutes from full time. And not because I feel that they came up just short of a win despite a thrilling comeback. Rather it’s watching how a team with high expectations of winning instead played a dreadful first half that was reminiscent of their terrible losses at the hands of the Czech Republic and Ghana in the 2006 World Cup.

The Stars and Stripes aren’t eliminated, but they will certainly have to play a solid ninety minutes against Algeria on Wednesday if they want to advance from the group stage. Goals like the one scored by Michael Bradley would obviously help:

Y Lo Feo (And the Ugly)
Like the saying goes “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.” Step forward Diego Maradona:

(Hat tip: Deadspin).

Online Sources- YouTube, New York Daily News, CBS News, Wikipdia, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, AP, Deadspin

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