Mexico to face Sweden in Oakland in Jan. friendly

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Mexico will play its first match of 2009 against Sweden on Jan. 28 in Oakland, Calif. The match will open El Tri's sixth annual U.S. tour.

In eight previous meetings with the Swedish team, Mexico has earned two wins and three draws. The match in January will set up a showdown between Mexico's manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and his native country, where he is considered a legend.

The match with Sweden will be Mexico's only game before beginning the final round of World Cup Qualifying against the U.S. National team on Feb. 2.

Mexico's 2009 U.S. tour will include five matches on American soil. In 2008 Mexico went 3-2-0 during its U.S. tour, collecting wins over China, Peru and Ecuador. Mexico's two losses on the tour came against Argentina and Chile.

El Tri made it through to the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying as the second team from Group B, but only collected one point on the road during the semifinal round. Losses to Jamaica and Honduras, as well as a draw with Canada, showed that Eriksson's young team was vulnerable to CONCACAF foes.

The U.S. tour should give Mexico some much needed experience away from Azteca Stadium.

Sweden is currently fifth in Group 1 of UEFA World Cup Qualifying. The Swedes will take on the U.S. is a friendly on Jan. 24 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., before playing Mexico.