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 México: The 22 for France 98

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( June 3 was the deadline to submit the final roster.)

The list that Coach Manuel Lapuente presents is made up up of: (first number followed by a period is the number on the shirt that will be worn by the player, last number is the date of birth)

Goalkeepers:

1. Jorge Campos (Pumas UNAM/Chicago Fire, MLS), born 15.10.1966

12. Osvaldo Sánchez (América), born 21.09.1973

22. Oscar Pérez (Cruz Azul), born 01.02.1973

The guy in the middle, with the suit and the soccer ball, is Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, the guy to his left (your right) is Coach Manuel Lapuente. The guy to the right of Zedillo (your left), is the President of the Mexican Soccer Federation. The rest of the guys in suits are team members.

©AFP

Defenders:

13. Pavel Pardo (Atlas), born 26.07.1976

2. Claudio Suárez (Guadalajara), born 17.12.1968

18. Salvador Carmona (Toluca), born 22.08.1975

16. Isaac Terrazas (América), born 23.01.1973

5. Duilio Davino (América), born 21.03.1976

3. Joel Sánchez (Guadalajara), born 17.08.1974

Midfielders:

4. Germán Villa (América), born 02.04.1973

7. Jesús Ramón Ramírez (Guadalajara), born 05.12.1969

20. Jaime Ordiales (Toluca), born 23.12.1962

19. Braulio Luna (Pumas UNAM), born 08.09.1974

21. Jesús Arellano (Guadalajara), born 08.05.1973

6. Marcelino Bernal (Monterrey), born 27.05.1962

8. Alberto García Aspe (América), born 11.05.1967

14. Raúl Lara (América), born 28.02.1973

Forwards:

11. Cuáuhtemoc Blanco (Necaxa), born 17.01.1973

9. Ricardo Peláez (América), born 14.03.1963

17. Francisco Palencia (Cruz Azul), born 28.04.1973

10. Luís García (Atlante), born 01.06.1969

15. Luís Hernandez (Necaxa), born 22.12.1968

 

Mexico opens against South Korea, but with Belgium and the Netherlands in its group, again faces an uphill battle to advance past the first round.

The team known as "El Tri" for its red, white and green uniforms of the national colors, has played in 10 World Cups, but survived the first round just three times. Its warmups don't bode well for France '98.

"We continue without giving the results that we all would like," national football federation spokesman Jesus Galindo Zarate said after Mexico squeezed past Venice of the Italian B league 1-0 on May 13.

Mexico was the first team to qualify for the World Cup from the CONCACAF region, but fans grew frustrated by coach Bora Milutinovic's cautious, defense-oriented strategy. After four consecutive draws, shouts of "Bora Out!" rained from the stands at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. Last November, team officials ousted him in favor of Manuel Lapuente, one of the most successful coaches in the Mexican professional leagues.

Lapuente has cut down on the ties, but at the cost of some astonishing losses.

Mexico made a respectable showing at the Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia in December, routing the hosts 5-0 before losing 3-2 to Brazil. But that was followed by the debacle of a spring tour of South America: losses of 3-1 to Boca Juniors of Argentina, 2-1 to Chile's under-21 team and 5-1 to Chile's Catholic University squad.

Mexican newspapers began calling the squad the "Tritanic."

Lapuente practically remade Bora's team, injecting new blood into the squad and mixing veterans with rising stars such as Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Luis Hernandez.

The coach surprised many by adding players who weren't even recruited for the national team in the previous two years.

Lapuente picked Ricardo Pelaez, who specializes in headers, but left behind Carlos Hermosillo, known for his long-range cannonball shots.

Also dropped were Benjamin Galindo, known as the "master" for his feints and strikes on free and penalty shots, and Alberto Coyote, considered a strong defender.

Still on hand are two stars from the 1994 World Cup team, goalkeeper Jorge Campos and forward Luis Garcia. Despite fans' doubts about Mexico's World Cup chances, Lapuente insists he has the "the greatest team in the world" and promises to lead "with much dignity and class."

Comments? Additions? Predictions?

 

Duilio Davino

©ESPN/AP

Alberto García Aspe

©ESPN/AP

Jorge Campos

© Tadayoshi Saito

Luís García

©AFP

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