The French national anthem gets a brief boo to begin with, I think. Domenech looks cross, but then he always does. Someone on the French team 'hey!'s at the end, though fails to get the heel click off the ground, and Evra lets a single tear slip out. I love the Mexican anthem, and might learn the words in an idle moment.
In my pre-match opinion poll, the French seem to be about as popular as... um... the French. "Even if I was not a Mexico fan, I would be for this game," says David Smith. "I almost want France to stay in the tournament because no other team is so easy to detest."
Oh my, what a day we've had after such a tentative start to the tournament. Things have happened! The telly has been worth watching! And I'm hopeful that France and Mexico will continue the trend -- Mexico because they started positively against South Africa anyway, and France because, well, they've got to, haven't they?
Domenech has made the changes we expected, while Javier Aguirre has tinkered with his defense, Paul Aguilar losing out to Hector Moreno. I'm surprised by that, because I thought Aguilar was excellent against South Africa, giving Lucas Thwala no end of trouble.
"I think you've left off the most hotly-anticipated change to Raymond Domenech's side," chuckles Bryan Bowen. "And the one that will give the French the best chance: removing Raymond Domenech!"
France (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris, Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Eric Abidal, Patrice Evra, Jeremy Toulalan, Abou Diaby, Sidney Govou, Franck Ribery, Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka.
Mexico (4-3-3): Oscar Perez, Ricardo Osorio, Hector Moreno, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido, Efrain Juarez, Rafael Marquez, Gerardo Torrado, Giovani dos Santos, Guillermo Franco, Carlos Vela.
Uruguay shook off that turgid 0-0 draw with France to turn on the style against South Africa yesterday, moving to the top of Group A and putting pressure on both teams here to produce a performance and keep up with the pace. France was, frankly, dreadful last week, but the anticipated changes to
The Mexicans didn't need to do a lot to improve, for my English pound, and looked exciting enough to pull this off. But of course, my usual journalistic impartiality shall not be shaken. I've got certificates and everything, you know.
The game kicks off at 2.30 p.m. ET so I'll be online from about 2.15 p.m. to bring you team news, live instant analysis and email banter. Keep your side of the bargain by emailing