World Cup

Short Notes on Mexico vs. France

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I love Mexico.
Viva Mexico.
Arriba, arriba.
Tequila shots for all.
Olé and all that.

Everyone should celebrate Mexico’s defeat of France. The well-worn clichéthe best team won, not the team with the best playersseems to be most felicitous in this case.

Allow me to analyze the game: The French teams sucks.

I’m not sure any Mexican player would start for France, but the starting eleven could.

Domenech is a horrible coach. I define horrible as someone who is both a bad coach and arrogant. He should become a Lebanese politician. No Makelele and St. Zidane to save his butt this year.

This was an embarrassing display, not just underperforming talent. Every French player called for an offside on the first goal, but not one tried to backpedal once they figured out it wasn’t. What if Lloris had blocked a shot? What if Hernandez’s shot hit the post?

The Mexican team plays a wonderful game: strong defense, great ball movement, lovely touches, and nonstop hustle.

Speaking of hustle, I keep promising myself that I won’t make any more fun of Blanco, but it’s not easy. When he first came on the pitch, I tried to convince myself that it might be a good thing. You know, isn’t it charming that he reminds us that there is more to the game than fitness or speed?

But come on.

Now, of course, Javier Aguirre knows more about soccer, and most certainly his own team, than I ever will, what with the Wrath of God and everything. Mexico scores when Blanco is on the field, and that penalty was impeccable. But I still don’t get it. I didn’t see that he added anything to the game, and his movement, to put it nicely, was limited. There was one sequence where he decided to pressure the defenders who had the ball, and his running across the field reminded me of a penguin waddle. I was surprised no one pointed and said, “The ocean is that way.”

I also felt sorry for him because the rest of the team was incredibly active. The man of the match, in my opinion, was Dos Santos. As the game progressed, he seemed to experience reverse entropy. His energy level seemed to rise and rise and rise. By the last 20 minutes, he completely disrupted France’s possessions, harassing anyone who had the ball.

If they keep playing like this, Aguirre should play Blanco. I might not know what’s going on, but it’s working.

Rabih Alameddine is a novelist. His most recent is An Unnecessary Woman.

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