World Cup: Mexico, Aguirre not done yet
Mexican Coach Javier Aguirre has a message for critics who say his team's World Cup hopes ended with Friday's surprising 1-1 tie with South Africa.
"There are three games in group play," he said. "That's the schedule."
Mexico returned to the practice field Saturday at Waterstone College outside Johannesburg to prepare for France, El Tri's opponent in its second game, Thursday. France and Uruguay also tied in their opener Friday, leaving all four teams in Group A with one point with two games left.
Of the four, Mexico is clearly the most disappointed with the result of its first game. South Africa entered the World Cup ranked 83rd in the latest FIFA rankings; Mexico is 17th.
"World rankings are very relative," Aguirre said. "In the end, the FIFA ranking is just a reference. It was a game we could have won, tied or lost. But you have to give the other team credit."
Aguirre said he won't change Mexico's aggressive, attacking style for the France game, but he made no promises about the lineup. In Friday's opener, he started 37-year Óscar Pérez in goal, a surprising move that may have been motivated by the circus atmosphere surrounding the World Cup opener. Pérez has started previous World Cup games for Mexico, and it was thought he would be better able to handle the distractions than either Memo Ochoa or Luis Ernesto Michel, who together have fewer international caps than Perez.
"I'm not happy," Aguirre said after the South Africa game. "It's obvious that we didn't want a draw. We were superior with better positioning on the field and more possession. [But] we have to score goals, be effective."
-- Kevin Baxter in Rustenburg, South Africa