Mexico will play South Africa, France and Uruguay in the World Cup. The opening match of the entire tournament will feature the host South Africans and El Tricolor, and will give Mexico a chance to show their stuff from the start.
But is their group an insurmountable one? Or is it there for the taking? Will Mexico extend their streak of qualifying to the second round of the World Cup to six consecutive tournaments? Or will the host nations as well as two former World Cup champions prove too much for El Tri?
Goal.com's Mexico staff provides a breakdown.
Is this a good draw for Mexico?
Andrea Martinez: Mexico were presented with a fair draw.
Host nation | Mexico will have to deal with the vuvuzelas and South African supporters.
It’s not the most difficult group of the World Cup draw, but it will be challenging for Mexico. Two of teams battled until the last day to gain their ticket and are coming up. The group isn’t labeled as the most difficult, but a few things can make it just as tough for the Mexican team.
Sylvestre Adame: This is a good draw for the Mexicans. Things could have been worse but this is definitely a winnable group.
Luis Bueno: Initially it set up to be a good draw. Even though Mexico were drawn in with the hosts, it was a blessing in disguise since it meant no chance of Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana or Nigeria. France, though, threw everything out of whack for the Mexicans, so what turned out to be potentially strong draw is now a difficult one.
Joel Aceves: Mexico has been drawn into a very even group with the exception of France which was runner-up in the previous World Cup. Overall it is a decent group where the match order; opening against the hosts followed by France and closing against Uruguay, can very well play to their favor.
Mexico's toughest challenge will be:
AM: France. Mexico always has a difficult time playing against France and in the end that game can decide passage into the next round.
Les Bleus | Easily Mexico's toughest challenge in the group stage.
SA: El Tri's toughest competition will be the French. Mexico has never won a match in any type of competition against Les Bleus.
LB: France. The French needed a handball in extra-time against Ireland to get through to the World Cup, and may not have Thierry Henry as he could face suspension for his handball. But the French will be tough.
JA: It has to be France. While the French are not playing good they have the strongest squad of Group A. France also has the type of talented players than can turn the match to their favor in a moment’s notice.
Mexico will advance out of the group stage if...
AM: If they win the first, and opening game, against South Africa. All eyes will be on that opening game and Mexico have to perform.
Guille Franco | El Guille will be a key player for El Tri next summer.
Although the host is ranked lower on the list, they play a difficult style for El Tri. Mexico tend to play better against the traditionally big teams; South Africa perhaps isn’t considered that type of team, but they will be big having the support of home.
SA: Mexico will need to be level-headed. The games against South Africa and Uruguay look to be the targets of the Mexican's but they can't get too overconfident. South Africa will look to surprise and Uruguay always brings it in the World Cup.
LB: They don't lose to South Africa. The pressure will be high for Mexico as the entire world will be watching. If Mexico can deal with more than six months of anticipation and build-up for the opener and can get to June 11 in the right frame of mind, they will have a chance of success on June 11, which will snowball into positives for El Tri.
JA: If they can get five points out of their three games. Two draws and one victory is a very feasible scenario for the Tricolor. Mexico will have to draw France and beat either South Africa or Uruguay to secure a second round showing.
Mexico will not get out of the group if...
AM: They stumble in the first game. Although they have to face Uruguay and France, the teams had to go in a roundabout way of qualifying for the World Cup, they will still give them trouble. France has been lucky as of late and even when they’re not expected to do much they end up faring well.
SA: If they lose all their games of course. Mexico will not go through without a leader on the field. Cuauhtemoc Blanco might not be there so El Tri will need some one with a voice in a team full of mutes. Dicscipline will also be key inside and outside the field.
El Loco Abreu | Abreu is no stranger to Mexican football.
LB: They lose to Uruguay. Uruguay is the opponent that is a must-win, hands down. Expecting a win against the hosts is a tall task - it could happen, but it will be tough - and the France game looms large. Three points against Uruguay and at least a draw in one other game could be enough to see Mexico through, but that seems like the bare minimum.
JA: If they lose their opening match to South Africa. A loss to the hosts would leave the Tricolor in a tight spot against the French and by the third game beating Uruguay might not be enough to qualify.
Initial predictions for group stage matches:
Mexico vs. South Africa
SA: Win: Mexico has defeated the South Africans before and they will do it once more. With Dos Santos and Vela used to the physical play in England the Mexican attack should take over.
LB: Draw. Mexico salvages a draw against a highly-emotional, driven Bafana Bafana side.
JA: Aside from being hosts the South African team does not appear to pose much threat. Their best-known player, and top goal scorer, Benni McCarthy is already 32. Also, the Bafana Bafana’s head coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, is known for his very defensive and rigid tactics. Mexico can very well take out a draw or even victory from their opening match-up.
Mexico vs. France
SA: Draw: The French team will not live down Henry's hand ball and will not advance to next round thanks to that.
LB: Loss. Les Bleus too much for Mexico to deal with.
JA: Draw. While Mexico has been known to rise to the occasion and play up to better rivals the lack of fire power could very well hurt the Tricolor’s chances of repeating their first round feats of previous World Cups when they drew the likes of Holland and Italy. France, however, has not been playing good and they too could be victims of their own doing. A loss is expected by I can see Mexico pulling out a draw.
Mexico vs. Uruguay
Last time out | Mexico beat Uruguay 3-1 two summers ago.
SA: Win : Uruguay struggled to make it to the World Cup and they will
struggle in the tournament. Mexico has never lost to Uruguay in important
competitions and the trend should continue.
LB: Win. Mexico score another win over Uruguay on the international stage, but will it be enough?
JA: Win. The Tricolor has been terrorizing South American teams ever since they were allowed to participate in Copa America back in 1993. While Uruguay has the type of strikers Mexico wished they had in overall group function the Tricolor is miles ahead of the Charruas whose roughhouse style of play could very well prove counterproductive in the big stage where the match officials can be very strict. Of all the rivals Uruguay should be the most accessible opponent for the Tricolor and a win is very possible.
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