World Cup: Mexico vs. France: Mexico wins, 2-0

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Baby-faced Javier Hernandez and ageless Cuauhtemoc Blanco came off the bench early in the second half and combined for two goals, giving Mexico a clutch 2-0 win over punchless France on Thursday in chilly Polokwane, moving El Tri a giant step closer to a berth in the the second round of the World Cup.

Hernandez’s goal came on a great individual effort when he came in alone on French keeper Hugo Lloris, deked the keeper out of the net, stepped around him and then tapped the ball into the net with his right foot. TV replays appeared to show that Hernandez was offside on the play, explaining why he was so unmarked.


Blanco got the second goal on a penalty kick into the lower-left corner in the 78th minute after Pablo Barrera was taken down in the penalty area.

France had just two real chances, the first coming nine minutes into the second half when Florent Malouda, in his return from Coach Raymond Domenech’s doghouse to the lineup, got off a blistering right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty box. But Mexico keeper Oscar Perez got enough of his gloved right hand on the ball to deflect it over the net. On the ensuing corner kick, Perez slapped the ball away with two hands.

The second chance came in the 72nd minute, but an open shot by Andre-Pierre Gignac from about 25 yards sailed high over the net.

Read more about the Mexico-France game.

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg, South Africa