Mexico to keep attacking against France
JOHANNESBURG – Mexico coach Javier Aguirre wants to stick with what’s worked in the past, even if it flopped in his team’s World Cup opener.
Aguirre will keep the team’s three-pronged attack for the World Cup match against France on Thursday, despite problems with the formation against South Africa.
Aguirre is deploying three forwards who are told not to do too much work to regain possession, a strategy that South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has called the “most daring at the World Cup.”
Mexico also sent its defenders surging forward, leaving the team exposed at the back. South Africa coped well, scoring the first goal and then hitting the post in the dying moments of the 1-1 draw on June 11 in the tournament’s opening match at Soccer City.
“We knew that the danger would be in the counterattack and that’s a risk we take in our style of play,” Mexico defender Rafael Marquez said Tuesday. “And yes, it caused some problems, but we’re continuing to work on it so it doesn’t happen again.”
Aguirre came up with the attacking formation as a solution to scoring problems Mexico had during qualifiers. The coach began to use it in friendlies leading up to the World Cup with good results: eight wins, two losses.
“It’s what has brought us here and we’re not going to change,” Aguirre said. “Yes, we do leave a lot of space at the back, but we’re going to continue this way.”
Mexico has generated many scoring opportunities with its forwards and wingers, but has trouble scoring.
“That’s why we’re training and working hard,” Marquez said. “The Netherlands also isn’t scoring and it’s a big team. Germany has done well with four goals, but I’m confident that we’re doing our best to fix this problem.”
Marquez also said he has completely recovered from a right calf injury and he declared himself fit to face France in Polokwane in their Group A match.
“I’m fine now … at 100 percent,” he said. “I’ve had trouble with the calf and against South Africa I even was thinking of being taken off, but I’ve been able to recover over the past few days.”
France has scored only one goal in its last three games, including two friendlies and its first World Cup match against Uruguay that ended in a 0-0 draw. But Marquez said France is a dangerous team.
“They are very strong in attack and defense, even though in attack they are not living up to the level that we’re accustomed to seeing,” Marquez said. “But they have big players that can make the difference at any moment.”