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Eriksson backed to revive Mexico

Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean is confident the national team will recover from disappointing displays in their last two games and advance to the next stage of World Cup qualifying.

The Latin American side, coached by former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, need a point in Honduras on Nov. 19 to reach the final round from CONCACAF Group Two.

"We are in first place in the group, but just by a hair and that's not comfortable," Compean told guests at a soccer symposium in downtown Los Angeles on Monday.

"We did not think it would be so much of a struggle in the qualification rounds. We have not got enough points as a visiting team and we have not got the goals we have wanted. We are concerned because our expectations were to be already qualified.

"But we see light at the end of the tunnel. We are certain that we will advance to the next round."

Mexico suffered a shock 1-0 defeat in Jamaica last month before being held 2-2 by Canada.

Mexico, who could have qualified with a win in Jamaica, lead the group with 10 points, one ahead of Honduras and three clear of the Reggae Boyz.

They have failed to win away from home in three attempts under Swede Eriksson, once in a friendly and twice in the qualifiers, giving more ammunition to critics who said he was not ready for the tough conditions in Central America.

"Eriksson was hired to do something beyond what we were already doing," Compean said. "He has been successful in Europe in countries where soccer is competitive - Italy and Portugal - and he has twice taken England to the World Cup quarter-finals.

"He has already come up with great ideas and he has accepted the challenge with a great degree of professionalism and a desire to work 100%. However, the most important thing is the results."

Eriksson said he has no doubt his side will qualify.

"I've not at any moment had doubts that Mexico will be at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010," Eriksson was quoted as saying on the Mexican federation's website.

"We knew it would be difficult, but I also thought we could have settled this in Canada or Jamaica. Now, we have to try and book our ticket against Honduras."

"I feel fine," said the Swede. "We are close to what we want, the match against Honduras is important for everyone in this country, supporters, players, federation, press. I know what it means but I'm not under pressure.

"The standard of Mexican football is high," he added. "It's not the same as the Premier League but it's a very good standard. It's evenly-balanced."

Former England manager Eriksson said that Tottenham forward Giovani dos Santos would not be available to face Honduras on Nov. 19 because of injury.

He was also surprised at recent comments from Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who announced his international retirement in September but has recently said he would be prepared to reconsider.

"I find it a little strange that a player says one day that he doesn't want to play in the national team for a number of reasons, then tells the media that he's available.

"Firstly, you don't change your mind from one day to the next. Secondly, if any player wants to talk to me for any reason, I prefer him to call me or any member of the technical staff rather than send messages through the press."

Mexico face Ecuador in a warm-up friendly on Wednesday.


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