POLOKWANE, South Africa—Substitutes Javier Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco each scored in Mexico’s 2-0 win over France at the World Cup on Thursday, leaving Mexico needing only a draw to reach the next round.
Hernandez, nicknamed "Chicharito (Little Green Pea)," ran onto Rafael Marquez’s pass as the France defense stopped, believing Hernandez was offside. He dribbled around 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.
Blanco put in a penalty kick in the 79th minute after Eric Abidal fouled another substitute, Pablo Barrera.
Mexico next plays Uruguay, which also needs a draw to advance. France has only one point and has to beat South Africa and hope Mexico and Uruguay don’t draw their match in Tuesday’s final group games.
Mexico fans taunted the French with cries of ‘Ole! Ole!’ as the clock wound down and vuvezelas blasted. France fans were heavily outnumbered by flag-waving Mexico supporters who packed each end of the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane and unfurled one 30-yard flag.
For France coach Raymond Domenech, it seems like a repeat of the 2008 European Championship, with a 0-0 tie followed by a defeat, and his controversial six years as coach of the French could end in more embarrassment.
Tactical brilliance from Mexico coach Javier Aguirre, with all three substitutes making an impact, and strategic redundancy from Domenech, whose team selection proved baffling once again, made much of the difference.
Abidal was caught out of position on both goals while playing center half instead of his usual left back.
Aguirre brought on Barrera after 31 minutes, while Carlos Vela came off and had trainers work on his right thigh.
Mexico finished the first half strongly, and Giovani Dos Santos fired a low shot just wide after chesting the ball down expertly and slipping Patrice Evra’s defending with alarming ease.
It was a sign of things to come for Mexico.