France 0-2 Mexico
And then there were six!
Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, William Gallas and Gael Clichy were all sent crashing by a plucky Mexico side, pretty much reducing Arsenal’s representation at the World Cup down from 10. If it was a jailhouse moment, Carlos Vela’s team would have walked away at the final whistle saying “I had the punk’s heart”. There had been a standoff between the two in the first-half, but as time went on it was Mexico who slapped France on the nose bridge, walking away like a victorious con. France were Mexico’s chicken, their slave and they had taken their heart.
France had been about as probing as Alan Shearer’s questions on apartheid – “So when you were segregated, how did you feel about that?” As Spain’s hammer-blow at the hands of the Swiss reminded many an Arsenal fan of their own teams problems, France’s mental block had too rung a similar bell.
Class has come in many different forms during the World Cup so far. Whether it’s from Germany, technical pilots of the game, the willingness to burst forward like Argentina or simply the hoggish appetite of Mexico, there is a beat to all of them. Nobody broadcasted them better than Mexico’s Oscar Salcido last night. I hope he is the type of player Arsene Wenger is looking out for.
So France will be needing miracles to remain in the competition. Elsewhere, the spirit of things are still very much alive for the likes of Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela. I felt the unity of the World Cup for the first time myself yesterday. It was International evening at the school where I work, and on my way out I couldn’t help but sit with an elderly Nigerian lady before an old wood –panelled eighties television to watch the three o’clock kick-off. She told me Nigeria’s defence was bad. I told her I supported Arsenal. “That makes two” she replied. I made her right.
France 0-2 Mexico