Mexico 2 Italy 1

I told you so! No one believed me. But I knew Mexico had it in them to beat Italy. The Italian side is a shadow of the side that won the World Cup four years ago. And that team, quite frankly, was the worst team to have ever won a World Cup. Old, slow and lacking any real quality. I’d actually picked a 3-1 win for Mexico, but 2-1 is close enough. Of the five last friendlies I’m happy to say I got all of them right, with one exact score.

I had feared, when their European friendly schedule was revealed, that the Mexican Football Federation were taking a big risk. Maybe even a big mistake. England, Holland and Italy – all big names, all away from home, and all in the space of 10 or 11 days. Three thrashings would have been a severe blow to the squads moral. But against England, they showed they could play in the first half. Against Holland they showed they could play in the second half. Against Italy they showed they can play and keep playing through a whole game.

Their performances have been a credit to them. And a warning to France, South Africa and Uruguay. But. There’s still a question mark over their ability to score goals. Even today they wasted more chances than they should have. Whilst Capello decided to take only four strikers with England to the World Cup, Aguierre picked seven. And none of them inspires 100% confidence when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net.

Aguierre does like to play with three offensive players. So who plays and who warms the bench. For me G dos Santos is a definite starter. He offers something different to the rest of them, and can sit just behind the front duo. Blanco and Bofo are definite non starters. Blanco is an impact player to be brought on late in a game. Bofo might as well make himself comfortable on the bench.

So that leaves Medina, Chicharito, Vela and Franco fighting for two spots. Personally I’d go with Chicharito and Medina. The former is just a little less wasteful than Vela, and a little more in form. The latter has been a more clinical finisher of late. Disagree? Let me know about it. Until then, I leave you with the goals from Mexico v Italy.

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  • I am still reeling over the Bofo over JDS selection. What is the word in Mexico City over that decision?

    As a Pumas fan, I am happy that Barrera, Juarez, and Castro made the cut.

    It was a good game. For a nation that prides itself on great defense and counter-attack, Italy was left flat footed a lot.

    I like your choices up front but Franco might prove to be valuable when size and mass are needed up front. I still remember how collectively small Mexico looked against England and Holland. Don’t rule Vela out yet, he just needs to try to find some more side netting on the finishes. I swear he aims directly at the keeper every time.

    Now that the rosters are finalized and the team is finding their rhythm, here is my prediction for the first round- France-1-1, South Africa 3-1, Uruguay 2-1

    Michael

    • I think most people are pretty stunned. Not only that JDS didn’t get in, but that Bofo of all people did. The crowd at the Azteca when I went to watch their farewell game against Chile made that pretty clear!

      Franco – I’ve been watching him in the EPL. Five goals from 31 games…he hardly set the world on fire. Far from it. Although to be fair he was playing for a struggling team. But then they do play the sort of football he likes.

      The lack of height in the Mexican team is far more damaging at the back than it is at the front, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned at Chicharito and Medina being a little on the small side.

      My predictions will follow shortly…..! But I really think France could be an early casualty.

      • Today’s loss against China reinforces the idea of a possible early exit for France. Some people are saying that this is Domenech’s strategy but that sounds non-sensical to me. The pressure on French players is building and that will surely affect them come June 11th.

        Wouldn’t it be great to see Mexico and Uruguay advance?

      • It would, but I really think they’ll win the wooden spoon of the group. Uruguay were the first team I finished in my Panini album, and that’s clearly a sign that they’ll be the first to go out.

        I know, my sense of logic is wavering….

        But France…yep. They’ve been poor for a long time now. The trouble with making predictions though, especially with 32 teams, is the unpredictability factor…..

        Who would have believed France and Italy would have made the final in 2006? Especially Italy – easily the worst team to ever win a World Cup.

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