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Rafa is in, Gio is out
by Paul Kennedy, October 9th, 2009 6:45AM



[WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING] Once considered in danger of not qualifying for the World Cup finals, Mexico takes a three-game winning streak into Saturday's Hexagonal match against El Salvador (TV: Telemundo, live, 6 pm ET). The Tri, which welcomes back Rafael Marquez but will be without young star Giovani dos Santos, will clinch a berth in the finals for the fifth straight World Cup if it beats El Salvador or does better than Costa Rica does against Trinidad & Tobago.

Marquez returns after missing all but the opening game against the USA -- in which he was red-carded. He was suspended two games but has missed the remainder of the Hexagonal after suffering a knee injury in the spring and later a calf injury during practice with Barcelona on its summer tour of the West Coast.

Dos Santos was largely responsible for breaking the logjam at the top of the Hexagonal standings when he scored one goal and set up two more in Mexico's 3-0 win at Costa Rica in August. But the 20-year-old dos Santos has been unable to win regular playing time at English club Tottenham and was injured in a rare Spurs appearance in the League Cup.


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