France V Mexico Preview: Thursday, 17th June (Group A)

16th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

 

France V Mexico

Kick-off: Thursday, 17th June – 19:30 GMT
Stadium: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Referee: Khalil Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia)
Group A

 

France

The last time France drew a group encounter with Uruguay was at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, where a 0-0 draw was played out as the French later went on to finish bottom of their group. Will the same ill fate befriend them in South Africa, as once again France play out a 0-0 stalemate with the same South American opposition. They are in a tough group alongside Uruguay, South Africa and Mexico and if they cannot improve on their drab Uruguay showing last Saturday then there’s every chance of the 1998 winners grabbing the wooden spoon. After all, France did finish bottom of their group at the 2008 European Championships as well.

If you think the pressure on England is immense you should try stepping into say Thierry Henry’s shoes, who has merely been reduced to substitute appearances in a team which has flattered to deceive in recent years and are currently out of sorts. Their 0-0 draw with Uruguay in their first of three Group A clashes compliments their woeful 1-0 loss to China directly before the finals nicely, or at least it backs up their exposed form heading into the finals. Either way, it’s time for the French to pluck up some courage for a change, to show their worth and display the sort of steely determination that seen them not just win the 1998 FIFA World Cup but end Germany 2006 as the runners-up.

Raymond Domenech has already been rocked by news that William Gallas, who is by a country mile France’s most accomplished centre-half in the squad, is a doubt for the game with Mexico although is deemed a minor concern – Phew. However, it has been his partnership with Eric Abidal, a full-back by trade, which has come in for heavy criticism from the French press and the pair could well come unstuck against the tricky Mexicans, who play some sweeping, slick passing moves right through even the most established of defences. Another area of concern for Domenec is up front, with Anelka a proven underachiever at international level  – Yet to score a World Cup goal for France –  while Franck Ribery and Sidney Govou failed to make things happen for France against Uruguay. So are we to expect changes for Thursday’s clash, with perhaps a place in the starting eleven for captain Thierry Henry? Or will Domenech opt the  powerhouse, Andre-Pierre, or the pace Djibril Cisse. Who knows, although everyone is desperate to see the coach ring the changes.

Despite possessing a whole host of creative players; Gourcuff, Ribery, Malouda, the French just aren’t clicking in the final third. One reason we feel it’s going wrong is with Nicolas Anelka, as his lack of movement gives the wingers, generally Ribery and Govou, little options. If anything, the guile of Thierry Henry would be best suited and complimented by the pace of Djibril Cisse, as well as Ribery on the opposite flank. Yoann Gourcuff, a player with a big future ahead of him, needs to bring his A-game to the table as well, as the Bordeaux play-maker was poor throughout the 0-0 draw with Uruguay. In fairness, the entire French team need to come to the boil and show some form of promise, give the demanding French public at least a glimmer of hope that there is far more to come from France.

 

Mexico

Mexico have had a knack in previous finals of registering wins in their opening game, having done so in their last three successive World Cup’s (1998, 2002 and 2006). But they, too, were held to a draw on Day 1 of the tournament, Rafael Marquez’s prod home cancelling out South Africa’s opener in an atmospheric and packed out Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. While Mexico originally set out to pick up all three points, the one point they did register has done little to harm their bid of making the knock-outs for the fifth consecutive finals, although it does leave them needing a positive result against the 2006 losing finalists.

The North Americans, nicknamed ‘El Tri, don’t have the best of records against the French, having never beaten France in six meetings, losing all but one of those encounters. Javier Aguirre, the Mexico coach, will need to change their fortunes against the French, and fast, if they are to continue harbouring hopes of making the last-sixteen. A draw would keep Mexico in contention with a game to play, that final game being against Uruguay, but victory over a team many deem to be ‘lost’ at the current time would put them within touching distance of their successive fifth Round of 16 match.

So can Mexico break their French duck in Polokwane at the seventh time of asking? We see no reason why they can’t, as the Mexicans play some delightful football at times and if they could only sharpen up in front of goal, could be a serious player in South Africa. Their ability to pass up golden opportunity after golden opportunity is a concern, alarming in fact, as against the big nations, those classed in that elite bracket of about eight, will punish them for their wastefulness. The question now is, can Mexico put away their many chances, and if no, are France still a ‘top 8’ country ready to give Mexico a good spanking should they not grab the gifts when they arise.

The one good news to come out of their 1-1 draw with hosts South Africa was that no-one took a knock or suffered an injury, so Javier Aguirre has a full strength squad to choose from as he aims to pile the woes onto his opposite number. However, there are decisions to be made, none more so than who should start up front. Guillermo Franco clearly has bags of experience but he doesn’t have the pace to get in behind a sketchy France defence, so could we see the a first World Cup start for new Man Utd signing Javier Hernandez, or what about Alberto Medina, who scored a couple during Mexico’s pre-tournament World Cup internationals. Whoever he opts for, the Mexico forwards need to get their shooting boots on in a contest they simply cannot afford to lose in case of risking their South Africa 2010 status.

 

Match Odds:

France – 2.38 Coral
Draw – 3.30 Ladbrokes
Mexico – 3.50 BetFred

 

Our Prediction: France to WIN – 2.38 Coral

We have opted for France although that’s purely because we see the ‘Draw’ as a last resort, usually in the instance where two teams appear unreliable or simply rubbish. Ironically, France could be classed by the latter judging by their latest outing against Uruguay, but while Mexico do play some beautiful football, there finishing at times is woeful and against a French side which know how to ride their luck and have the quality up top to punish sides, France narrowly get our vote.

Huge amounts of improvement are need though from France, with their attacking in particular in need of a revamp. We don’t see it happening, but Anelka’s exclusion from the starting eleven would be a start, as well as removing the useless Govou from the fray in place of either Malouda or Henry. Whichever, we aren’t fussy in the slightest. If Domenech starts with the same eleven which drew 0-0 with Uruguay, we fear the worst for our pals across the pond.

Our Recommended Bet: Franck Ribery FGS – 11.00 Coral



The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+




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