De los Cobos is confident about Mexico's chances against France on Thursday.
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De los Cobos confident of Mexico's chances against France

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Carlos de los Cobos has an undeniable interest in the Mexican National Team.

The Fire’s first year head coach was a member of the Mexico side that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, so he is rooting hard for his home country to go far in South Africa.

“This is important for Mexican people,” De los Cobos said of the tournament.

El Tri, who play their second Group A game Thursday against France, opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw against South Africa on Friday. De los Cobos said that he obviously would have preferred a win in the tournament opener, but that a tie was a decent result.

WATCH: RECAP: South Africa vs. Mexico

“[It was a] difficult game,” De los Cobos said of the Mexico vs. South Africa match. “I think that Mexico played the first half very good and then, in the second half, [they] weren’t the same team.”

Thursday’s match against France (2 pm ET; ESPN, Univisión) is an absolutely critical one for Mexico. Sitting on one point after one match, El Tri are tied with France and South Africa (who lost against Uruguay on Wednesday) for second place in Group A. Uruguay is in first place in the group with four points.

A loss would put a huge damper on Mexico’s shot at advancing past the group stage, but De los Cobos is confident that the team will avoid a disappointing result against Coach Raymond Domenech’s talented—if inconsistent—French side.

“I think that when Mexico play against big teams, they play better,” De los Cobos said. “I have confidence because I saw very speed [and] I saw players with good management of the ball. I hope that [we’ll get a] very good result in the next match.”

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