August 29, 2008

Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson made sure the fans would be pleased by calling in their long-time hero Cuauhtemoc Blanco again, but the Swede made two modifications from his previous squad.

For the World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica and Canada early next month, Eriksson dropped Villarreal forward Guillermo Franco and Santos Laguna winger Edgar Castillo, apparent victims of a numbers game: The coach summoned only 23 players instead of the 25 he selected for the first qualifier against Honduras.

The absence of Nery Castillo from this second list is not surprising, since the forward is currently negotiating his transfer from Manchester City to Real Betis of Spain. However, Eriksson does not count out the possibility of incorporating him into the group for the qualifiers eventually, as his quality makes him an important option despite his not seeing much action in the past months.

The only major doubt was goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez, who suffered an injury to his left knee midweek and did not finish the game against Tecos. But Mexico's No. 1 maintained his spot.

Mexico's World Cup qualifier matches will take place on Sept. 6 in Jamaica and Sept. 10 against Canada at the Estadio Azteca. The venue for the second match was originally set Jaguares Stadium in Chiapas, but Eriksson repeatedly mentioned his preference to play at the Azteca, where Mexico has lost only one qualifier, and his demands were met.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Oswaldo Sanchez (Santos Laguna), Guillermo Ochoa (America), Jesus Corona (Tecos)

Defense: Ricardo Osorio (Stuttgart, Germany), Rafael Marquez (Barcelona, Spain), Aaron Galindo (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Fausto Pinto (Pachuca), Jonny Magallon (Chivas), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Franciso Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands)

Midfield: Giovani dos Santos (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Pavel Pardo (Stuttgart, Germany), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruña, Spain), Fernando Arce (Santos), Leandro Augusto (Pumas), Francisco Torres (Santos), Luis Perez (Monterrey)

Forwards: Omar Bravo (Deportivo La Coruña, Spain), Carlos Vela (Arsenal, England), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago Fire, MLS), Matias Vuoso (Santos), Carlos Ochoa (Monterrey)

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