Behind the direction of Sven-Goran Eriksson, México’s, or Mexico’s for some of you, El Tri’s FIFA world ranking is No. 26 and should be able to kick off 2009 win a victory over Sweden, whose ranked 31st.
But if you can believe Sweden played a friendly against Mexico in Fresno! That’s right. It was in 1994 under the direction of Miguel Mejia, when El Tri won 2-1 on Feb. 24. Imagine that? In ’05, Ricardo LaVolpe led the squad to a 0-0 tie during a match in San Diego.
Overall, dating back to 1958, Mexico has two victories, while Sweden has three. There are three ties. It was in ’58 that host Sweden defeated Mexico 3-0 during the Copa del Mundo.
“A good working (team) in tomorrow’s match will give us a lot of confidence as a team. Additionally it will give us added ease (confidence) with the fans, the press and ourselves,” said Eriksson after Mexico’s training on Tuesday in Oakland.
Eriksson is Swedish, which could bring some added coaching skill to the sideline against the rival national team. And Mexico is confident, albeit somewhat, after a 1-0 victory last year over Honduras in the final group play phase of World Cup qualifying. What is still ahead for Mexico is the United States on Feb. 11, when they meet in the CONCACAF qualifier for South Africa 2010. The United States is planning on having all of their key players ready and the Ohio fans as back up. And they beat Sweden 3-2 in January.
According to Eriksson’s list, Guillermo Ochoa, Oswaldo Sánchez and José de Jesús Corona (Tecos) are the scheduled goalies. And everyone seems all right with the gum-chewing Ochoa and Sánchez wearing the gloves.
And while Rafael Márquez will not play because of the injury sustained in Europe, Eriksson’s hopefull the defender will play against the United States.
But the forward César Villaluz is scheduled to play. And he’s fast, young (just 20) and has at least 11 international matches played since 2007. And with midfielder Pavel Pardo, well you get it.
“Sweden is a rival team that has a style similar to the United States, and for this, I believe it will be a good preparation match. It should help us plenty,” added Eriksson.