France’s goalless opener was the third time they started a major finals in this fashion under boss Domenech. At Germany 2006 they recovered to go all the way to the Final, while at UEFA EURO 2008 they fell at the first hurdle. Which path will they follow at South Africa 2010?
After a lacklustre display in their goalless opener against Uruguay, France coach Raymond Domenech still appears unsure as to his best formation. Favouring a 4-3-3 system in pre-tournament warm-up action, Les Bleus’ supremo opted for a 4-5-1 against La Celeste. Now though, he is expected to push midfielder Yoann Gourcuff closer to central striker Nicolas Anelka and flank the Chelsea man with club-mate Florent Malouda and Franck Ribery.
Intriguingly, while France have won just one of their five games in 2010, they have never been beaten by Mexico at senior level, with three of the sides’ six meetings coming at FIFA World Cup finals.
Over in the Mexican camp, the aim is to improve on the wayward finishing shown in the 1-1 draw with South Africa. Clearly unhappy with his charges’ display, El Tri coach Javier Aguirre is set to start Andres Guardado in place of Paul Aguilar, though young tyros Carlos Vela, Efrain Juarez and Giovani dos Santos are expected to keep their starting berths. Mexico are bidding to improve on a record of just one win from eight encounters with European nations at the finals.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Posted at 11:07 AM