World Cup Soccer Preview and Pick: France vs. Mexico

France vs. Mexico Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane South Africa 2:30 PM EST Thursday June 17, 2010
by Jason Green at

Match Odds: France 2.15 / Mexico 3.50 / Draw 3.20
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: France +110 / Mexico +260 / Draw +210

This is the second Group A match for both of these squads and after the first round of games all 4 teams in Group A are tied with 1 point after a couple of draws. This game is between the 2 strongest teams in the group, but the loser of this match has a major uphill battle to make it to the knockout phase.

Both of these teams were favored in their first group matches, but each looked far from impressive. Mexico gave up a goal to South Africa in the 59th minute, but luckily scored with 11 minutes left in the match to even the score. Mexico dominated the match in terms of time of possession (65% to 35%), but they simply could not finish. They also left their defense exposed since they attacked all match long and if they do that against France it may really cost them.

Mexico’s defense was plagued by many mistakes, bad marking and a lack of discipline and they definitely have to improve their performance against France.

France really had an off match in their 0-0 draw against Uruguay, as they had a few good chances to score, but simply could find the back of the net. They had 20 shots and Uruguay only had 7 and the score was still 0-0. France won the time of possession 57% to 43% and striker Diego Forlan looked decent on the attack and he will need to do the same against Mexico.

France Recent Form:
6/11/2010 France 0 Uruguay 0 (World Cup)
6/4/2010 France 0 China 1 (Friendly)
5/30/2010 France 1 Tunisia 1 (Friendly)
5/26/2010 France 2 Costa Rica 1 (Friendly)

Mexico Recent Form:
6/11/2010 France 0 Uruguay 0 (World Cup)
6/3/2010 Italy 1 Mexico 2 (Friendly)
5/30/2010 Mexico 5 Gambia 1 (Friendly)
5/26/2010 Holland 2 Mexico 1 (Friendly)

France has to have a better match from Nicolas Anelka and Yoann Gourcuff, as both looked off-form against Uruguay.

France’s best player Franck Ribery has to set the pace this match and be more active in the midfield and pushing the ball forward. He will play much better in the match against Mexico, as I think he will either score or assist on a goal.

Mexico’s Giovanni Dos Santos pushed the envelope on offense in the South Africa match pressuring the defense and he will have to do that against France.

Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez scored the equalizer in the match against South Africa, but he may have more defensive responsibility in this match and he will need to play well. France will come out attacking and Marquez is the anchor of the Mexican defense.

The French defense played solid in the Uruguay match and I think they will do the same in this match. G Hugo Lloris was not tested against Uruguay, but may be tested in this match. However, he is a good keeper and I expect him to keep a clean sheet in this match.

France has the edge in terms of world-class players and those players have to step it up and find the chinks in Mexico’s defensive armor, as there are a few.

France’s Thierry Henry was brought in for the last 20 minutes of the Uruguay match to give the Blues some offense, but he was not much of a factor. He may get more playing time in this match and he has to show he is still a legit scoring threat.

Jason’s Pick: I said this in the last preview, but France still has an elite team and I think they can make some noise in South Africa, but that needs to start with winning this match. The French will come out and attack and I think they will be successful in scoring at least one goal in the match. They will control the midfield and play good defense, as well. I see France taking the important 3 points from this match beating Mexico 1-0 or 2-0.