That hesistancy started to manifest itself as early as the 15th minute, when Eric Abidal's header back to Hugo Lloris was almost intercepted by Mexico forward Giovani Dos Santos. Moments later it was Evra's own turn to look fallible, his pass back to the Lyon custodian going completely astray. "There's no doubt we lacked concentration," he told FIFA. "Their first goal came about because we switched off."
Wearing a somewhat glazed expression and speaking in a hesitant voice, the France captain refused to point the finger at anyone in particular, however. "The whole team is at fault for this defeat – all 13 players who played tonight."
Agony for Abidal
Second-best in all the key battles and outrun from start to finish, France were unable to contain El Tricolor's sprightly forwards. They also contributed to their own downfall. William Gallas's sloppy clearance and subsequent last-ditch saving tackle midway through the first half was just the kind of moment to bolster Mexico's belief that Raymond Domenech's men were there for the taking.
"I don't think France played badly," goalscorer Javier Hernandez told FIFA. "It was our movement off the ball that allowed us to open up space." Hernandez it was who set Javier Aguirre's men on the road to victory, beating the French offside trap and rounding Lloris to slot home. Abidal, the man who played him in for the opener, was also at fault when Mexico doubled their advantage with 11 minutes remaining.
In an incident that recalled his red card in the group meeting with Italy at UEFA EURO 2008, the Barcelona defender upended the advancing Pablo Barrera in the box, conceding a penalty that Cuauhtemoc Blanco expertly converted. It was also surprising to see France's defensive midfielders fail to stem the Mexican tide. Jeremy Toulalan was unusually accommodating, allowing Mexico's midfield runners to surge past him time and again.
Summing up the elation in the Mexico dressing room, midfielder Gerardo Torrado gave his views to FIFA on a crucial win for his side: "We really played as a team. We stayed solid and we helped each other out. We were watchful and focused and that's what won us the game." None of those qualities were evident in a disjointed France outfit now needing a major turnaround in the final round of games in Group A to advance. "I don't believe in miracles," concluded a disbelieving Evra. "More than anything we need a win to salvage some pride."