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Mexico's win puts France on verge of World Cup exit

POLOKWANE, South Africa - "Chicharito" was too big for France.

Mexico's Javier Hernandez, whose nickname means "Little Green Pea," emulated his grandfather by scoring a World Cup goal against France. One major difference: his was in a victory.

Substitutes Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco each scored in Mexico's 2-0 win over France Thursday, leaving El Tri needing only a draw to reach the next round. And leaving France on the verge of an exit.

Hernandez 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, but El Tri lost.

"I remembered my grandfather in the locker room," Hernandez said. "I haven't spoken to my family yet, they're my main motivation. Thank God I could score. More importantly, we could win against a team we hadn't been able to beat in a long time."

Blanco put in a penalty kick in the 79th minute after Eric Abidal fouled Pablo Barrera. Abidal was caught out of position on both goals while playing center half instead of his usual left back.

"We feel a great disappointment and sadness," France coach Raymond Domenech said. "We struggled. At the moment I really don't have an explanation for it.

"We should still be proud enough to look forward to winning our next match. There is still an infinitesimally small chance that we will go through."

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 tie their match in Tuesday's final group games.

"We have to enjoy this win," Marquez said. "We have to go step by step and be calm."

For France, it seems like a repeat of the 2008 European Championship, with a 0-0 tie followed by a defeat, and Domenech's controversial six years in charge could end in more embarrassment.

"We're not going to go out of this tournament without winning a match," France winger Florent Malouda said. "It's shameful to lose like that. It's a question of saving our honor."

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