World Cup 2010: Mexico's Carlos Vela ready to face his Arsenal team-mates

CARLOS VELA thought he had scored the opening goal of the World Cup on Friday only to be denied by an offside flag – but now the Arsenal midfielder is making a beeline for his Gunners team-mates on Thursday. Vela s Mexico escaped with a draw from the tour

CARLOS VELA thought he had scored the opening goal of the World Cup on Friday only to be denied by an offside flag - but now the Arsenal midfielder is making a beeline for his Gunners team-mates on Thursday.

Vela's Mexico escaped with a draw from the tournament's opener with hosts South Africa at the new Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, and they face France in Polokwane in a potentially decisive clash in Group A.

Vela played on the left flank for Mexico and could find himself coming face to face with Emirates colleague and France right-back Bacary Sagna, but is confident the Central Americans can find their form and surprise the 2006 finalists.

"We know that they are great players and a great team, and at any moment they can wake up and have a great game," said Vela.


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"It's all relative, because you can say they are going through a bad moment, but when you get out onto the pitch it's very different. You don't remember what's taken place in previous games.

"Unfortunately we couldn't win the first game, and now we cannot make any excuses," said the 21-year-old. "We need to get the win, whether we are playing France or any other side."

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Vela has been the subject of transfer speculation after a disappointing season at the Emirates, in which he started just six games in all competitions, scoring two goals.

Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna have enquired over his availability, but his agent Eduardo Hernandez confirmed this week: "We appreciate the interest of Deportivo in Carlos. They are not the first team to have shown an interest, but we talked recently with Arsenal and we are told that there is no possibility of him going to another club.

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