Soccer  > World Cup  > Must win game for Mexico
June 14, 2010, 10:36 AM
By Gerardo Mart??nez G??mez

JOHANNESBURG - After only getting a draw in a game it expected to win, the Mexican national team's focus on scoring has intensified.

With a 1-1 tie against host South Africa in the World Cup opener - a match that it dominated early, fell behind and then had to rally, El Tri must refocus for its match against France on Thursday.

"M??xico looks to attack fast, plays well with its forwards, looks toward the wings and suddenly lacks poise when it comes to finishing," midfielder Andres Guardado said. "Sometimes due to the eagerness to attack and do it fast, we leave ourselves open at the back. Therefore we need to remain calm to look for a win or draw."

No longer a guaranteed regular in manager Javier Aguirre's starting 11, Guardado said that despite the many areas that Mexico must improve, the team will not radically change.

"Mexico is not going to change its style of play and is going to keep on playing with its three forwards while defending with seven defenders, as that has given us results up until now. And we are going to hope that that continues happens in the World Cup," Guardado said.

Forward Carlos Vela feels Mexico's poor finishing isn't something that is worrisome, because he's convinced that at any moment the goals will come.

"Let's not exaggerate because the other day the goals went in and they said we were the best," Vela said. "So you have to remain calm, and not be alarmist because the team maintained its style, and now will have to improve on certain aspects and the most important thing will be to win the next matches."

With only a draw against what many consider the weakest team in Group A, Mexico will have to get positive results against France and Uruguay, which to Vela means getting points at all costs.

"Obviously it's difficult because, in theory, they are two teams that are superior to South Africa, but this team can beat any team and showed it against Italy," he said referring to Mexico's 2-1 victory over the defending World Cup champion Italy in its final preparation match. "We are calm and we are going to work hard to get a win."

At the same time, Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Perez is convinced that now that El Tri has put the opener behind it, M??xico will play its best and get the results expected by its fans.

"I am sure that once past the inaugural game, the team is going to play better," he said. "Furthermore, France is going to be different and I don't think they have the same speed as South Africa. They all seemed like speedsters, and that made things tough for us.

"We are disappointed at not achieving the three points (against South Africa), but are confident that we are going to beat France/"

Family Sunday

Following the team's debut, the Mexican players were able to spend an afternoon with their family members in Johannesburg.

The meeting took place in the team's hotel and included typical Mexican food as well as music from the musical group Mariachi Los Caporales.


Friday, June 11
South Africa 1, Mexico 1
Uruguay 0, France 0
Wednesday, June 16
South Africa vs. Uruguay
Thursday, June 17
France vs. Mexico
Tuesday, June 22
Mexico vs. Uruguay
France vs. South Africa

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