Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta and the rest of the Mexican national team will play a pair of pre-World Cup friendlies in the USA. (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)
The Mexican national team will play two pre-World Cup friendlies against fellow World Cup participants in the USA, its federation announced on Thursday.
El Tri will play Nigeria at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on March 5 and then face Ecuador on May 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The friendlies will follow a match against South Korea later this month, which will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Jan. 29, just three days before the U.S. national team plays South Korea at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Playing in the Georgia Dome and AT&T Stadium is nothing new for Mexico, which regularly plays games in the United States and draws massive crowds, through its federation's partnership with SUM (Soccer United Marketing). According to the Mexican federation, El Tri has averaged 52,000 fans in its three games at the Georgia Dome.
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In its 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal loss to Panama at AT&T Stadium, Mexico played in front of a packed house of 81,410.
Mexico, which was kept alive in World Cup qualifying by U.S. midfielder Graham Zusi's goal in Panama on the final day of the CONCACAF Hexagonal and then defeated New Zealand in a two-leg playoff to earn a place in Brazil, will play against Croatia, Cameroon and host Brazil in Group A of this summer's World Cup.
Ecuador was drawn into Group E with Switzerland, France and Honduras, while Nigeria was drawn into Group F with Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.