Mexico coach talks tough on opener: ‘we are not here to make friends, we are here to win’

2010-06-11 00:00

MEXICO coach Javier Aguirre was all confidence ahead of his side’s World Cup opening game against Bafana Bafana at Soccer City at a pre-match press conference yesterday.

But the El Tri boss was also forced onto the defensive at times by some tough questions by members of his own press.

However Aguirre, a classic tough guy who does not mince his words, stood his ground, an indication that Bafana will be up against uncompromising opponents today.

“Mexico have been doing very well and we are confident of a win,” Aguirre said.

“We have spent 60 days together and been joined by our overseas-based players later on.

“We are highly motivated and confident and I believe tomorrow is going to be a great day for Mexico.”

Aguirre played down the factor of playing in front of a charged Soccer City, under the added pressure of a World Cup opening match.

“My players have a lot of experience and have played in front of a full house on many occasions.

“At the end of the day it is 11 players against 11 and four referees and a ball, regardless of it being the opening match.

“Since we qualified in October we have been focusing on this World Cup. In December the decision was made that we would play the host nation in the opening game, and we have been focusing on that since then.

“Of course in the opening match there is big pressure, but once Mexico overcome the butterflies and settle into the game we will do well.”

A member of the Mexican press pointed out that while Mexico have been training in their Thaba Ya Batswana eco lodge south of Johannesburg, they have perhaps not experienced first-hand the atmosphere of support that has been evident for Bafana in the central city.

“Not really. I think that the best team over 90 minutes will win,” Aguirre said.

“It’s 11 versus 11. I don’t think it’s the support or the encouragement in the stadium that is going to win the game.

“I think it’s the quality on the pitch.

“We are not here to make friends.

“We are here to win and progress in the tournament.”

Mexico are set to start Barcelona defender and captain Rafael Marquez in defensive midfield.

Veteran playmaker Cuatemoc Blanco, who played a key role in the team’s turnaround after a poor start earlier, in the qualifiers, has also been tipped to come off theMexico bench.

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