Blanco back on Mexican team for upcoming qualifiers
MEXICO CITY -- Cuauhtemoc Blanco is back on Mexico's national team in a squad announced Friday by new coach Javier Aguirre.
The Chicago Fire forward retired from the national team last year, but was the main surprise when Mexico team officials announced the 24-man team for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago.
Mexico plays El Salvador on June 6 and Trinidad and Tobago on June 10.
Mexico is in fourth in its qualifying group and must finish as least third to qualify automatically for the World Cup finals in 2010 in South Africa. The United States leads the group followed by Costa Rica and Honduras.
Aguirre also had a choice in goalkeepers, calling up Oscar Perez and leaving Oswaldo Sanchez off the team. Sanchez had been the starter. Perez was a starter on the 2002 World Cup team coached by Aguirre.
Aguirre returned to coach Mexico a month ago after former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was fired.
Nestor De la Torre, the team's general manager, said the team would stand only for the two upcoming matches with Aguirre likely to make more changes as he assesses talent.
Aguirre called up only one nationalized player, Argentina-born forward Guillermo Franco. Eriksson caused a stir in Mexico by calling up four players born outside the country.
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (America), Jesus Corona (Tecos), Oscar Perez (Cruz Azul).
Defenders: Ricardo Osorio (Stuttgart), Aaron Galindo (Chivas), Francisco Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven), Hector Moreno (Az Alkmaar), Edgar Duenas (Toluca), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven), Oscar Rojas (America).
Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Pavel Pardo (America), Israel Castro (Pumas), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham), Fernando Arce (Santos), Andres Guardado (La Coruna).
Forwards: Carlos Vela (Arsenal), Alberto Medina (Chivas), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago Fire), Nery Castillo (Shakhtar), Miguel Sabah (Morelia), Guillermo Franco (Villarreal), Jose Maria Cardenas (Pachuca), Carlos Esquivel (Toluca).