Dazzling Mexicans desperate for goalscorer

JOHANNESBURG, June 12 (Reuters) - For all their fancy ball skills and slick approach play Mexico's Achilles heel during this World Cup could be the lack of an in-form striker.

Mexico's coach Javier Aguirre was left to rue a string of missed chances, particularly during a dominant first half performance, after an engrossing 1-1 draw on Friday at Soccer City in the opening match.

"In the first half we were better but it didn't show in the scoreboard and we paid for that," he said after the pulsating draw where neither side paid too much attention to defensive duties.

Despite looking more nervous than their opponents pre-match, who entered the stadium swaying and singing in unison, the Mexicans came out all guns blazing and Giovani Dos Santos could have put them 1-0 up after just two minutes but for a brilliant Aaron Mokoena challenge.

The first half continued in a similar fashion but the Mexicans failed to deliver the knockout blows and the home team were allowed back into the match.


Mexico will have to be more ruthless in front of goal when they take on France in Polokwane on June 17 followed by Uruguay in Rustenburg five days later.

Their other group opponents played out a dour 0-0 draw later on Friday which would hardly have struck fear into the heart of Aguirre, his team and the army of supporters in South Africa to follow their country.

Before Friday's game the fervent Mexican support was everywhere to be seen, from giant sombreros to more sinister looking mohawks.

One fan stood aggresively thumping his chest, clad in Mayan battle dress and crying words of encouragement for his country's troops.

Aguirre will no doubt hope his forwards can get similarly pumped up and start finding the back of the net.

Cuauhtemoc Blanco, 37 years old and with 38 international goals to his name, is the leading marksman in Aguirre's squad but he is no longer guaranteed a starting place.

The faith was put in Guillermo Franco, Dos Santos and Carlos Vela against the hosts, and even with the introduction of Javier Hernandez and Blanco in the second period it was still down to defender Rafael Marquez to bail the team out.

Alberto Medina and Adolfo Bautista are other names to have found the net on several occasions but Mexican fans were left complaining about the lack of a deadly finisher.

"We need someone that sticks the ball into the net no matter what," Pablo Gallegas told Reuters before slinking off into the night clutching his sombrero.