Fast Mexico are no push-overs
Posted: 25 May 2010 Time: 8:43 am
Despite losing 3-1 to England in an international friendly last night, Bafana Bafana's opening World Cup opponents Mexico showed they will be no push-overs come June 11.
"Mexico are technically very good - they are faster than us and it was not easy getting the ball back," England coach Fabio Capello said after the match. While England defenders Ledley King and Glen Johnson both scored and Peter Crouch had a contentious goal allowed, problems in defense made it an uncomfortable night for England at Wembley Stadium. England was outplayed in many stages of the game, with the Three Lions' goalkeeper Robert Green twice denying Mexico's Arsenal forward Carlos Vela, while Carlos Salcido hit the goal post. Guillermo Franco claimed a goal for the visitors seconds before halftime when left back Leighton Baines cleared Rafael Marquez's header at the far post straight to the forward, who scored from close range. "The manager (Capello) wanted more aggression from the whole team," England midfielder Steven Gerrard said. "They had too much possession in the first half, we stood off them and let them play. In the second half we got in their faces and stopped them playing. We need to be more aggressive," Gerrard added." Argentina 5 –0 Canada Diego Maradona's Argentina were impressive in one of the four other international World Cup games played last night as they routed Canada 5-0 in their final match on home soil before heading to South Africa. The Canadians side was overwhelmed at times by the speed and precision of Argentina's attacks. "The lads understood what I wanted, there are no friendlies," Maradona said in a televised interview on the pitch. "The fans can relax, we have good players." Argentine played with Lionel Messi who was rested. Australia 2-0 New Zealand Australia coach Pim Verbeek slammed his star players Vince Grella and Tim Cahill for two brutal tackles on New Zealand winger Leo Bertos, challenges that in a World Cup match would have left Australia with only nine men on the pitch. Australia defeated the Kiwis 2-1 in the WC warm-up Down Under thanks to a last-gasp strike from Brett Holman, but the win was marred by the ugly challenges by two of Australia's best-known players. After Cahill's scything challenge, which followed Grella's two-footed lunge, Bertos was carried off on a stretcher and out of the game after barely half an hour. Verbeek praised the All Whites for their discipline and refusal to turn the game into a battle of retaliation, but warned that such a physical approach by the Socceroos in South Africa would be a disaster for his team. "In the World Cup that's probably two red cards, so it's a good lesson because I cannot accept this of course. The players know this is not the way they should play the game. You cannot afford to go into whatever game and make tackles like that. I cannot find any reason why you should do it." Korea Republic 2-0 Japan Japan's head coach Takeshi said his boss has told him to stay on for next month´s World Cup despite his side's 2-0 defeat to South Korea in Monday´s one-sided friendly. Okada said he had asked Japan Football Association president Motoaki Inukai about his tenure after the humiliating defeat, which has made his much-touted target of a semifinal spot in South Africa still more unrealistic. "The president told me to ‘go on' and I believe we will only have to go forward," Okada said. "It is not that I have lost my confidence but I wanted to ask him the question because he may also become the centre of debate." Portugal 0-0 Cape Verde Portugal was held to a 0-0 draw by Cape Verde in a friendly yesterday in a disappointing start to its World Cup preparations. Portugal had a tight defence and a fluid passing game but could not deliver in front of goal. Cristiano Ronaldo had little impact despite playing 90 minutes. The Real Madrid forward, who didn't score during Portugal's qualifying campaign, had several chances but repeatedly shot wide. Cape Verde, ranked 117th in the world, was the first of three African teams Portugal plans to face in exhibition matches ahead of its June 15 World Cup opener against Ivory Coast. It also meets Cameroon on June 1 and Mozambique June 8.