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WORLD CUP: Mexico to face Gambia in warmup

May 13, 2010 |  8:12 pm

Mexico will meet Gambia in its penultimate World Cup tuneup May 30 at Hans-Walter-Wild Stadium in Bayreuth, Germany.

El Tri was originally scheduled to play Portugal that night, but negotiations broke down over Portugal's insistence that Mexico turn over its training base in South Africa, the Thaba Ya Batswana hotel outside Johannesburg, to the Portuguese.

Mexico refused and Portugal, which will be based in South Africa at the Valley Lodge in Gauteng, scrapped the friendly.

By replacing Portugal with Gambia on its four-game series of European exhibitions, Mexico is taking a huge step down in class -- Portugal is ranked third in the latest FIFA rankings, Gambia is 93rd. But the new matchup gives Mexico a chance to test itself against a team that plays an African style, important since Mexico opens the World Cup on June 11 against South Africa.

-- Kevin Baxter, reporting from Houston