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'Chucho' gets shot as post-Sanchez era begins
by Paul Kennedy, April 16th, 2008 7AM



[MEXICO] For the moment, Jesus Ramirez's commitment to coach the Mexico national team is only three games, the first of which takes place on Wednesday when the Tri faces China in Seattle.

Ramirez, who led Mexico to the 2005 Under-17 World Cup title, was named interim coach after Hugo Sanchez was fired following Mexico's failure to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

Ramirez, who goes by the nickname "Chucho," is at the moment only scheduled to coach the China game and matches June 4 against Argentina in San Diego and June 8 against Peru in Chicago. Mexico's 2010 World Cup qualification campaign begin June 15 against Belize in Houston.

Javier Aguirre, who led Mexico to the second round of the 2002 World Cup, is rumored to be under consideration for the Tri job. His contract at Atletico Madrid will expire on June 30 though it reportedly contains an automatic renewal clause if Atletico qualifies for European play in 2008-09. Atletico is currently fourth, which would qualify it for the qualifying stage of next season's UEFA Champions League.

For Wednesday's game against China, Ramirez called up 20 players, many of whom he is familiar with from youth national teams. It's a less than full-strength team that includes such veterans as Oswaldo Sanchez (who has lost the starting job to Guillermo Ochoa) and Brazilian-born Zinha. Ramirez's selection of Alejandro Castro raised some eyebrows. The defender is playing for Cruz Azul's farm team in the 1A Division (second level).

Goalies: Oswaldo Sanchez (Santos), Jose de Jesus Corona (UAG).
Defenders: Leonardo Lopez (Pachuca), Fausto Pinto (Pachuca), Patricio Araujo (Guadalajara), Omar Esparza (Guadalajara), Adrian Aldrete (Morelia), Omar Trujillo (Morelia), Alejandro Castro (Cruz Azul).
Midfielders: Amaury Ponce (Toluca), Zinha (Toluca), Luis Perez (Monterrey), Joel Gonzalez (Monterrey), Jorge Hernandez (Atlas), Gerardo Rodriguez (Pachuca).
Forwards: Sergio Santana (Guadalajara), Juan Carlos Cacho (Pachuca), Cesar Villaluz (Cruz Azul), Pablo Barrera (UNAM), Christian Bermudez (Atlante).

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