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Futbol drama: The long, strange journey of the Mexican World Cup team

March 31, 2010 |  7:30 pm

Mexican national coach Javier Aguirre released his preliminary World Cup roster Tuesday, and his decisions were full of surprises, both for who made the list and for who didn't. Among the 17 selected were sure picks, such as goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, defenders Efrain Juarez and Jonny Magallon and forwards Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Javier Hernandez. But among those joining them in next month's training camp were two players who were anything but sure bets: No. 3 goalkeeper Oscar Perez and forward Miguel Sabah.

The Times' Kevin Baxter has been following the team from when all Aguirre would say about the roster was, "The list includes people and lacks people." For more on El Tri's journey to South Africa, you can read Baxter's coverage of the team's preparations for the World Cup, or his profile of Javier Hernandez, who is attempting to become a third-generation member of the national team. But even Baxter can't explain why nearly 1 in 5 Mexicans surveyed said they believed the national team would reach the World Cup final in South Africa when Mexico has never gotten past the quarterfinals -- and the team has not gone that far in 26 years.

Keep reading La Plaza in the coming months for more of Baxter's in-depth coverage of El Tri, and more news from Latin America. 

-- Times staff