Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mexicans Wave Goodbye

Argentina 2-1 Mexico

Well, they gave it everything. From the first minute until the very last, Mexico pushed Argentina all the way, and were dreadfully unlucky to be sent home, beaten by yet another contender for "Goal Of The Tournament". I've enjoyed the idiosyncratic Mexicans since they outplayed Iran in their opening match. As I said before on here, they have played with a joie de vivre that many teams in this tournament (not least England), and I'll miss them sorely.

They came out of the traps like eleven greyhounds on steroids, and it was no great shock when Marquez shot them into the lead on five minutes. This couldn't last long, though, and Crespo levelled things up five minutes later. Watching it at home, I kept turning to my girlfriend and saying, "they can't keep going at this pace forever", but they did. The turning point of the match came just before half-time, when Gabriel Heinze, trying to atone for a piece of ball control that would have graced Rio Ferdinand, hauled down Fonseca, who was clean through on goal. The referee should be made to answer the question of why he didn't send Heinze off, and the conspiracy theorist in me is starting to question whether the referees have been ordered to keep the big teams in the tournament. I refer you to the previous match as well.

Both teams continued the frantic pace into extra-time, when Rodriguez volleyed in a fantastic goal. By this time, Mexico were clearly tired, but they kept fighting as much as they could until the final whistle. FIFA got what they wanted. A Germany-Argentina quarter-final. But the Mexicans can return home with their heads held defiantly high. If England play with the same level of commitment, pride and attacking flair this afternoon, we'll all be more than happy, regardless of the result.


discostu said...

He didnt send Heinze off, but he disallowed Messi's goal, and by carding the wrong mexican let them keep 11 on the pitch late on.
I thought Mr Striding played well for mehcico, shame he could only find his own goal and not the argentine one.

Hustler said...

I'm not sure he carded the wrong Mexican at all.
It looked to me like he carded the right Mexican who kicked the ball away after the whistle was blown for the foul.
The referee failing to give a red card to Heinze was an absolute disgrace and highlights one again the sorry state of top level refereeing.

carlos said...

I agree about the red-card. However, there was a pretty blatant make-up call in injury time as Messi's goal was disallowed.

All in all, the best game of the tournament. Given Mexico's record in penalty kicks, as a Mexican, I'd rather see them go down like this instead of losing from the spot. Way too painful.

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