Thursday June 17th, 2010

Three thoughts after Mexico's 2-0 victory over France in Group A on Thursday:

1. France didn't rise to the challenge. It was apparent from the start that Mexico was treating this as the biggest matchup with France or any other European country since the Battle of Puebla. The French, on the other hand, played as if this was a World Cup tune-up rather than a game that would likely decide which country advanced out of group. French manager Raymond Domenech has some questions to answer, most of all about his team's attitude. They manner in which they went down, showing almost no passion, was stunning. After their first few free kicks didn't find the net, the French pretty much rolled over, and then in the closing moments were smiling and shrugging as if they didn't care. An embarrassing display.

2. Javier Hernandez should get 90 minutes against Uruguay. Guillermo Franco started a striker and, while not horrible, he didn't have the impact "Chicharito" did when he came on in the 55th minute. Hernandez's goal in the 64th minute showed off his pace, and he seems a more natural fit with the other young players (such as Giovani Dos Santos) who lead Mexico's attack. Because both Uruguay and Mexico are essentially through to the next round, it would be smart for Mexico manager Javier Aguirre to run out Hernandez and see what he can do over a full game. It is what fans are clamoring for and couldn't hurt.

3. Speaking of Aguirre, he made all the right moves. From the very start, with the decision to give the captain's armband to Rafael Márquez rather than Gerardo Torrado (who wore it against South Africa), Aguirre made call after call that paid off. The goals were scored by substitutes, first Hernandez and then ageless Cuauhtémoc Blanco on a penalty kick in the 79th minute. Given that he came in and saved Mexico during qualifying, Aguirre should be canonized by the Mexican fans if he can coax a few more wins out of his team.

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