If the ageless Cuauhtemoc Blanco has come to represent Mexican soccer's recent past, then the babyfaced Javier Hernandez is the country's immediate future.
So it seemed only natural that they should meet in the middle in chilly Polokwane on Thursday to make sure Mexico's present doesn't end prematurely.
With both players coming off the bench in the second half to score, Mexico rolled to a 2-0 win over France that all but guarantees El Tri a spot in the World Cup's second round.
With four points, Mexico is tied with Uruguay, its opponent Tuesday, atop the Group A standings and needs only to avoid a loss in its final match to advance.
The French, meanwhile, finalists in two of the last three World Cups, have not scored in this year's tournament and will need a miracle to get out of group play with one match left.
"It was a big step, but we aren't there yet," Mexico coach Javier Aguirre said.
Next week's game with Uruguay will not only decide the group, it will also decide who plays Argentina in the second round. The loser will meet Diego Maradona's powerhouse while the winner will get the Group B runner-up, either South Korea or Greece, leaving it with a much easier path to the quarterfinals.
For the time being, however, Aguirre will focus on Thursday's victory.
"This was a very important win," he said. "France is not just another team. It was a very complete game. Some of the best (play) I've seen from this group."
And it was anchored by the oldest and one of the youngest players in that group.
Blanco, 37, is 15 pounds heavier and more than a step slower than he was in his prime. But he remains an icon in Mexico, where he is the most beloved player of his era — an era that included three World Cup performances, all of which ended in the second round.
Hernandez, at 22, is the heir apparent, although the two couldn't be more different. Blanco, who grew up poor in a Mexico City slum, is hot-tempered and sometimes coarse. Hernandez, who grew up the privileged son of a soccer star, is polished and bilingual with matinee-idol good looks.
Together, however, they have proved to be a potent pair.
Two minutes after Blanco came on, Hernandez scored, luring French keeper Hugo Lloris away from the goal, then dribbling around him and tapping the ball into the empty net with his right foot.
El Tri had had to wait just 15 minutes for its next goal with Blanco, deadly on the penalty kick, beating Lloris after French defender Eric Abidal fouled Pablo Barrera.