[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] At Monday's opening of Mexico's full-time camp for domestic-based national team players at the Centro de Alto in Mexico City, Coach Javier Aguirre said the Tri could make history this summer.
“We are talking about a good generation with unmatched preparation,” Aguirre said. “This team can make history. It is in our hands, and nothing outside stands in our way. There are no excuses. The Mexican team has sufficient time to play good soccer.”
Expectations are high for Mexico. It is loaded with players who have experience in Europe. A core of young players won the 2005 Under-17 World Cup, and the Tri has the most ambitious pre-tournament schedule of any team at the World Cup.
Mexico has three games left on its U.S. portion of its pre-World Cup schedule. The next game: May 7 against Ecuador at the New Meadowlands Stadium. It will also play Senegal May 10 in Chicago, Angola May 13 in Houston and Chile May 16 in Mexico City before heading to Europe, where it will play England, the Netherlands and Italy.
Mexico, which faces host South Africa in the opening game on June 11, has a history of underachieving. It has reached the second round at the last four World Cups but lost its first game in the knockout phase each time.
Mexico's full-time camp means the 17 players will miss the final stages of the spring championship, the Torneo Bicentenario.
With five players called into the national team camp, first-place Guadalajara is the most affected.
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Club America), Luis Ernesto Michel (Guadalajara), Oscar Perez (Jaguares).
Defenders: Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), Efrain Juarez (UNAM), Jonny Magallon (Guadalajara), Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Club America) , Jorge Torres Nilo (Atlas), Adrian Aldrete (Morelia).
Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (UNAM).
Forwards: Pablo Barrera (UNAM), Adolfo Bautista (Chivas), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Veracruz), Alberto Medina (Guadalajara), Miguel Sabah (Morelia), Javier Hernandez (Guadalajara)