France on a stroll while Mexico stumbles in opener

SUWON, South Korea, Reuters

Goals from Shaun Murphy and Josip Skoko guided Australia to a 2-0 victory over champions Mexico on the opening day of the Confederations Cup before a virtually empty stadium on Wednesday.

Australia were far more focused and their attack made the most of Mexico’s lapses in defence, which was led by captain Claudio Suarez who equalled the record for international appearance in his 157th game for Mexico.

He shares the record with Hossam Hassan of Egypt.

Mexico appeared to be still suffering from their 4-0 defeat by England in Friday’s friendly and their long flight to Korea.

The goal by defender Murphy, who plays for Sheffield United, came in the 19th minute after a series of Australian chances. A cross from the right was missed in the air by striker Clayton Zane and Murphy dived forward to head home.

Skoko’s goal was a fine effort from 20 meters out by the Genk midfielder.

After the second goal Australia, for whom Birmingham City midfielder Stan Lazaridis was outstanding, sat back to defend and were rarely troubled in the second game of the “mini World Cup”.

In the opening match of group A, France beat hosts South Korea 5-0.