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World Cup: Mexico vs. France: Scoreless after 35 minutes

June 17, 2010 | 12:05 pm

Mexico Coach Javier Aguirre has done the math, so he knew going into Thursday’s showdown with France that there was only one result that would help his team’s World Cup chances: a win.

“We’re going to play tomorrow as if it’s our last match,” Aguirre said.

And El Tri did in the early going, which unfolded like a frustrating repeat of Mexico’s tournament opener against South Africa.

Five times in the opening 35 minutes, which went scoreless, Mexico players had excellent chances at a goal. And each time they missed.

In the ninth minute, Carlos Vela came in leading a 3-on-1 break, but instead of dropping the ball for one of his teammates, he took an ill-advised left-footed shot that sailed wide over the net. Three minutes later, Guillermo Franco, who twice misfired on headers against South Africa, fired over the top of the net after making a good turn to get free on the edge of the penalty box.

Carlos Salcido then missed twice, aiming for the far post and missing with a left-footed shot and, in the 27th minute, firing a hard shot right at French keeper Hugo Lloris.

In the 32nd minute, Vela left with an injury and was replaced by Pablo Barrera, who immediately rushed the net on his own scoring chance.

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg, South Africa
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