Group D
Mexico 0-0 Angola

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Mexico were booed off the pitch following their disappointing 0-0 draw with Angola in Hanover.

The result will go down as Angola’s finest ever result, but for the fancied Mexico team, the crowd reaction at the final whistle confirmed that this was a humiliating performance that will put coach Ricardo La Volpe under great pressure in the coming days.

Mexico almost went ahead from the opening move of the game when Carlos Salcido fired just over from long range.

Rafael Marquez, Mexico’s classy defender struck the woodwork with a free-kick that sneaked through the wall as Mexico began to assert themselves.

Zinha, included in the starting line-up after his impressive performance as a substitute in Mexico’s opening game, was looking lively, and he came close with a sharp turn and chip midway through the half.

Angola, meanwhile, after a shaky start in their opener against Portugal, looked like they had acclimatised to World Cup football and were holding Mexico relatively comfortably. A measure of Mexico’s anxiety was evident when goalkeeper Sanchez kicked the ball out of play when under no pressure.

As the interval approached Angola began to string a few passes together and although Sanchez was under no real threat, the omens looked promising for the African side.

Franco, who had spent most of the half falling to the floor – the victim of real or imaginary fouls – had Mexico’s best chance on the stroke of half-time, but his effort was blocked by the advancing Ricardo.

Overall though, the game was bereft of goalmouth incident with both teams cancelling each other out with ease in what was turning out to be one of the duller games of the tournament.

Mexico tried to inject a bit more urgency into their play after the break but to little effect, and coach La Volpe brought on Arellano for Zinha in an attempt to add some energy to his faltering attack.

Their best chance fell to Franco who played a one-two with Arellano, but with only Ricardo to beat his chip failed to clear the keeper with the goal gaping.

Omar Bravo matched his side’s general ineptitude when he was presented with a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring but he shot weakly with only Ricardo to beat. Angola were riding their luck at this stage as Mexico were gradually starting to exert some pressure.

Angola suffered a setback when Macanga was sent off with ten minutes remaining. With a man advantage Mexcio pushed men into the box in pursuit of that elusive goal, but Angola continued to defend resolutely.

Ironically, considering their domination in the latter stages, their best effort came from a long range shot from Marquez that was tipped wide by Ricardo. From the resulting corner the ball bounced off Bravo and onto the post and at that pointMexico must have known it was not to be their night.

Full credit to Angola who battled away courageously despite being outclassed at times. Remarkably, the result gives them a chance of reaching the last 16, a feat which if achieved, would go down as one of the greatest shocks in the history of the tournament.

For Mexico, the nation ranked 4th in the FIFA rankings and a team that arrived in Germany with high hopes, tonight’s result represents a huge embarrassment.

Mexico: Sanchez, Salcido, Marquez, Osorio, Pineda, Torrado, Zinha, Pardo, Mendez, Franco, Bravo.

Subs used: Arellano 52 (for Zinha), Fonseca 74 (for Franco), Morales 79 (for Pineda).

Bookings: Pineda 59

Angola: Joao Ricardo, Jamba, Kali, Delgado, Loco, Figueiredo, Macanga, Mateus, Mendonca, Ze Kalanga, Akwa.

Subs used: Mantorras 68 (for Mateus), Rui Marques 73 (for Figueiredo), Miloy 83 (for Ze Kalanga).

Bookings: Delgado 13, Jamba 44, Ze Kalanga 50, Macanga 79, Ricardo 86

Snet-off: Macanga 79

Referee: Shamsul Maidin (Singapore)

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