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The Best of Group A

As Group A wraps up, here's some selections from our writers.

Leon Krauze on the quality of Mexico's victory over France:

It’s not only that Aguirre’s men played a wonderful game tonight: air-tight defending, wonderful ball rotation and physical fitness that, as far as I’ve seen, is probably the best in the whole tournament. By the end of the match, even Jeremy Toulalan—by far the most committed of Domenech’s disappointing team—simply wanted to throw in the towel.

Rabih Alameddine was succinct in his judgment:

Everyone should celebrate Mexico’s defeat of France. The well-worn cliché—the best team won, not the team with the best players—seems to be most felicitous in this case.
Allow me to analyze the game: The French team sucks.

Geoff Shandler worried about the broader impact of France's disgrace:

Given the ethnic and racial constitution of the French team, will the backlash against this team stoke anti-black and anti-Muslim anger back home?

Franklin Foer, though, noted some weaknesses in the Mexican side against South Africa:

Everyone has droned on about how players like Rafa signify the return of the sweeper. Yet, there's a clear cost to pushing your back-line so far up the field. A few other beefs: Franco doesn’t seem the best forward to capitalize on Mexico’s great possession. And while Dos Santos looked plenty exciting, Mexico didn't have much width in the attack. Finally, Blanco is one bloated corpse.

Eve Faribanks on the host nation's disappointment:

When the people sitting around me tonight weren't honking, they were - even before Uruguay scored a goal - shouting the kind of desperate, slightly contemptuous messages you hear directed at teams that make an art of letting down their fans, such as "Shoot!", "Your goal is the other way," and "Stop breaking our fucking hearts."