World Cup: Mexico-Portugal talks not so friendly
The Mexicans, who have scheduled European exhibitions with England (May 24), the Netherlands (May 26) and Italy (June 3), had been in negotiations with Portugal for nearly a month. But the talks ended poorly, Nestor De La Torre, chief executive of the Mexican federation, said Monday.
"We could not figure out those small details that were missing," De La Torre told a news conference, called for the opening of Mexico's World Cup training camp. "We closed out the process negatively because their side was not more flexible."
De La Torre said he was "working our Plan B" in the hopes of scheduling another high-quality opponent but refused to say which country that might be. Portugal is listed fourth in the current FIFA rankings, one spot behind the Netherlands and one spot ahead of Italy. England is ranked seventh and Mexico is 17th.
Meanwhile the national team started its two-month countdown to the opening match in South Africa with a challenge from Coach Javier Aguirre.
"I asked the players directly. 'Guys, do you want to make history? It's in your hands. It's going to cost, the sacrifice is hard and it's difficult to leave your family and be here for 60 days,' " Aguirre told reporters.
The 17 domestic-based players in camp will be supplemented with as many as 11 European-based players next month. That roster will then be cut to the Cup-limit 23 on June 1.
"This is not the final squad," Aguirre said. "I have talked about this with all of them. We are just talking about the next phase. But I want to have a style with those who are here and because of that I want to drill in their head that the World Cup is the pinnacle in terms of aspiring to represent your country. And we are not scared of anything. Nor do we give up on anything."
-- Kevin Baxter
Photo: Mexico Coach Javier Aguirre meets the media on Monday. Credit: Etzel Espinosa / Getty Images