Mexico boss Lavolpe rues Angola stalemate

June 17, 2006

Mexico's players and coach Ricardo Lavolpe alike felt that last night's draw with Group D rivals Angola was a bitter pill to swallow.

Victory against the African side might, depending on the result of Portugal's game with Iran on Saturday, have seen Mexico qualify for the last 16 with a game to spare.

However, a sterling defensive display by Angola, who were reduced to 10 men by the sending-off of Andre, earned the Africans a point and means Mexico face a tricky last match with Portugal.

Mexico skipper Rafael Marquez said: 'We let our chance to qualify slip away because we couldn't put the ball in the net.

'But we controlled possession, got to the edge of their box and we were dangerous.

'The team did what it had to, but we didn't get lucky. But there were still lots of good things that we can take from the game.'

That assessment was shared by defender Carlos Salcido who was dismayed the 'tricolores' failed to breach the Angola defence and man-of-the-match goalkeeper Joao Ricardo.

Salcido said: 'It was our game, but we just didn't get the luck we needed to get a goal.

'It means that qualification is now a little more complicated, but we're not too concerned because we're in good form. Their goalkeeper did very well.'

Mexico played well in their opening 3-1 win over Iran but yesterday's result means they face a last match with a Portugal side who could have already qualified if they beat Iran on Saturday.

Coach Lavolpe said: 'I will wait and see what happens in the match between Portugal and Iran on Saturday before I decide how we will approach the next game.'

Lavolpe was nonplussed at how the Mexicans had failed to snatch all three points against the Black Antelopes.

'The players worked very hard and played hard - the only thing we failed to do was finish things off,' said Lavolpe. 'I can't fault the effort of the players.

'I don't want to keep repeating myself but we did nothing wrong in the way we approached the game - lamentably we only finished with a zero.

'At a World Cup there are no easy games and we were not expecting this to be an easy game.'