Soccer  > World Cup  > Mexico prepares for "decisive" match with France
June 16, 2010, 03:30 PM
By Gerardo Mart??nez G??mez

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Having drawn the team it was expecting to beat, Mexico now must look at its World Cup match against France in an unanticipated and different context.

"This is the most important match and we are going to try and go for the three points," defender Rafael Marquez said. "I always put the example of the preparation matches that we had and we have to approach it in the same way.

"It is decisive and we know the potential and quality that they have. In any moment they can change a match, they are great players with a lot talent and we can't be confident just because they have haven't scored recently."

Like Mexico's 1-1 draw against host South Africa, France also enters Thursday's Group A match with a disappointing 1-1 result in its opener against Uruguay.

Marquez says he is fully fit, explaining the leg injury he picked up against South Africa is completely healed.

"I feel good and at 100 percent," he said. "I have had some problems with my calf, and I felt pain in the second half against South Africa and we were thinking about making a substitution. But during these days the recuperation has gone well. I have been training along with everyone else and without any problem."

Despite British bookmakers giving France a slight edge, French media are insisting on dubbing Mexico as the favorite.

"It's respect that Mexico has earned due to the matches that we have played up until now, but we are calm and we have the same respect for them," Mexico defender Francisco Javier "Maza" Rodriguez said. "Therefore, we have to show what we are made of and that Mexico has what it takes to win the match."

Rodriguez is also convinced that Mexico will be playing for its World Cup future against the French, and must be intelligent and effective in the attacking third.

"If it's necessary we have to do it on the field. We have a style that we aren't going to change, but we know the importance of this match and that we are playing our future," he said. "We have in our mind that it's win or win."

Lineup Change?

Against South Africa Andres Guardado, Javier "Chicarito" Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco entered in the second half, but were unable to affect much change. Guardado, however, ran the most and appeared best at syncing with his teammates, giving rise to speculation that he has the best chance of returning to the starting lineup.

Whether Guille Franco earns a second straight start or is replaced by Hernandez is a decision manager Javier Aguirre must consider after Franco's lack of production against South Africa. However, Aguirre's pattern would dictate that he would remain steadfast with Franco to boost his confidence.

With the insertion of Guardado to the starting 11, Paul Aguilar would most likely sit. That would still leave Oscar Perez in goal, Ricardo Osorio and Francisco Rodriguez as the two central defenders, Carlos Salcido on the left and Efrain Juarez on the right. In the defensive midfield Marquez would play with Torrado while Guardado will enter on the left with Giovani Dos Santos on the right and Carlos Vela and Franco as the forwards.

Group A

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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