ZLBT Chats

Thursday, June 17, 2010

FRANCE vs MEXICO >>> Match Preview


It is fair to say that after an opening 0-0 draw with Uruguay, France have substantial room for improvement. Whether Raymond Domenech is the man to affect that change and inspire a victory over Mexico remains to be seen, but if France do fail to secure three points on Thursday, they will be in real danger of departing before the start of the knockout stages.

Les Bleus were desperately unconvincing against Uruguay, and questions were asked of Domenech's tactical approach after he left Florent Malouda and Thierry Henry out of the first XI and kept Sidney Govou on until the final five minutes despite a disappointing performance. With France still growing accustomed to an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation, and continuing reports of rifts within the camp, Domenech has his work cut out.

Mexico, meanwhile, came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with South Africa on the opening day of the tournament and in this tightest of groups, harbour real ambitions of reaching the last 16. Goalscorer Rafael Marquez should shrug off a calf problem to take his place in a side that favours flowing football and a slick passing game.

France player in focus: Florent Malouda
The Chelsea winger was a surprise omission from the starting XI to face Uruguay and France missed his energy and invention down the left. Malouda has dismissed reports that he had a bust-up with Raymond Domenech in training and could be restored to the first team to face Mexico.

Mexico player in focus: Giovani dos Santos
The forward was believed to be considering pulling out of the World Cup finals after his brother, Jonathan, was overlooked by coach Javier Aguirre, but performed well in the opening game against South Africa. Giovani is not afraid to let fly and is a danger in and around the box.

Key battle: Yoann Gourcuff v Rafael Marquez
Bordeaux star Gourcuff is France's creator-in-chief while Marquez is Mexico's defensive inspiration, so an intriguing battle of wills could develop between the two men. If Gourcuff is given space then he has the ability to unlock the Mexico defence, but Marquez will look to deny him that at every given opportunity.

Trivia: If Javier Hernandez scores for Mexico, he will emulate his grandfather, Tomas Balcazar, who netted against les Bleus in the 1954 World Cup.
Stats: France's forwards have not scored a goal in international football since Nicolas Anelka netted in the first leg of their play-off win over Republic of Ireland. That is a run of six games.

France may look shambolic with recent games but they did not lose to the Uruguayans did they? Neither did the Mexicans fared any better against the host South Africa and they surely won't find it any easier against the French.

This is a crunch game and a point won't do either team any good so some all out attacking play looks imminent for both teams. Somebody must score and even if it leaves gaps at the back.
ZLBT takes the French to nick this one maybe by the slimest of margin.
Franck Ribery can be the joker in the pack.


Take FRANCE give 1/4 > MEXICO (Main Bet)

Take FRANCE WIN @ odds 1.99 (No Hcp)

Take a DRAW @ 3.24 (Optional Bet)

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