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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct, 9, 2008

CONCACAF: It's not war, says fearless Eriksson

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has brushed aside fears of a physical battle in Saturday's World Cup qualifier away to Jamaica, saying his team are heading for a football match and not a war.

Mexico have a 100 percent record in Group Two of the CONCACAF'S zone third stage and another win will send them through to next year's final phase with two matches to spare.

The United States, who host Cuba in Group One, and Costa Rica, who visit Suriname in Group Three, are in identical positions to the Mexicans as they also look to book their places early in other matches on Saturday.

The top two teams each group progress to the final stage of the marathon contest.

Mexico have often struggled on previous visits to the Caribbean, appearing intimidated by the physical prowess of sides such as Jamaica and Trinidad.

"It maybe a tough match and Jamaica maybe a tough team but I don't think we're scared of playing there," said Eriksson.

"I'm not going to send out a team of battlers, we are going to play football, we're not going for a war."

Jamaica, who have one point alongside Canada, go into the game under interim coach Theodore Whitmore after Brazilian Rene Simoes was sacked last month.

Former England international John Barnes will take over on a full time basis in November.

Honduras (six points) are favourites to follow Mexico through and are confident of taking a big step by beating Canada at home in San Pedro Sula, despite the absence of injured striker David Suazo.

The U.S. should have few problems against Cubans who have yet to muster a point and will be missing striker Roberto Linares, their topscorer in the competition with four goals, through suspension.

Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago, level on four points, clash in the group's other game in Guatemala City.

Midfielder Russell Latapy, 40, trained with Trinidad this week amid uncertainty over his role. Latapy was reportedly to be hoping for a role as assistant to Francisco Maturana, but the Colombian poured cold water on his ambitions.

"This is my staff here," Maturana told the Trinidad Express. "I want to see Latapy on the field."

Stern John, Trinidad's record scorer with 69 goals, is hopeful of being fit and former Manchester United forward Dwight Yorke is also back in the squad.

Costa Rica striker Alvaro Saborio is set to return in Paramaribo after completing a two-match suspension and is likely to replace the injured Froylan Ledezma.

El Salvador, second in the group with six points, visit Haiti, who are level with Suriname on one point.

El Salvador, often accused by visiting teams of creating a hostile environment, were this time afraid of being on the receiving end.

"I hope we have a referee with personality and who is not frightened by the surroundings," said coach Carlos de los Cobos.

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