Mexico's Cuauhtemoc Blanco, right, celebrates after scoring a penalty goal with fellow team members Giovani Dos Santos, center, and Rafael Marquez, left, during the World Cup group A soccer match between France and Mexico.
POLOKWANE, South Africa (AP) — Substitutes Javier Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored a goal each Thursday in Mexico's 2-0 win over France at the World Cup, leaving the French on the verge of elimination from Group A.
Hernandez ran onto Rafael Marquez's pass and rounded goalkeeper Hugo Lloris before guiding the ball home in the 64th minute. Hernandez's grandfather, Tomas Balcazar, scored for Mexico against France in the 1954 World Cup, although that was a consolation goal.
Blanco converted a penalty in the 79th after Eric Abidal fouled Pablo Barrera.
Mexico is now level on points with Uruguay, both with four. France and South Africa both have one point but still have a chance to advance.
France has to beat South Africa and hope Mexico and Uruguay don't draw their match in Tuesday's final group games.
For France coach Raymond Domenech, it seems like a case of the 2008 European Championship all over again, with a scoreless draw followed by a defeat, and his controversial six years as coach could end in more embarrassment.
On the other side, it may have been tactical brilliance because all three of Mexico coach Javier Aguirre's second-half substitutes made an impact.
Mexico could have scored more against a French defense which looked anything but secure, with Abidal caught out of position on both goals. Abidal is normally a left back but Domenech picked him at center half alongside William Gallas.
Domenech changed his formation after the team's lackluster 0-0 draw against Uruguay last week, switching to a 4-2-3-1 lineup with Franck Ribery in the playmaker role behind striker Nicolas Anelka.
Aguirre chose a 4-3-3 formation and stuck with the same attackers that started in the 1-1 draw against South Africa, with Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos in wide positions and Guillermo Franco in the center forward's role.
Sidney Govou's inclusion was a surprise to many observers after his poor performance against Mexico, but Domenech kept him on the right wing. Govou gave right back Bacary Sagna little protection, however, and Mexico soon figured out that pushing Salcido higher up the field was a dangerous option.
Jeremy Toulalan will miss Tuesday's match against South Africa for picking up another yellow card, and Efrain Juarez will have to sit out the match against Uruguay for the same reason.
France: Hugo Lloris, Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Eric Abidal, Patrice Evra, Sidney Govou (Mathieu Valbuena, 69), Abou Diaby, Jeremy Toulalan, Florent Malouda, Franck Ribery, Nicolas Anelka (Andre-Pierre Gignac, 46).
Mexico: Oscar Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido, Rafael Marquez, Ricardo Osorio, Gerardo Torrado, Guillermo Franco (Cuauhtemoc Blanco, 62), Carlos Vela (Pablo Barrera, 31), Hector Moreno, Efrain Juarez (Javier Hernandez, 55), Giovani Dos Santos.
Tuesday, May 23 2017 2:35 PM EDT2017-05-23 18:35:47 GMT
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