Aguirre sounds call to arms after exit

JOHANNESBURG - Mexico coach Javier Aguirre said his team's "boys" had the potential to finally bring joy to his success-starved compatriots after his country's all too familiar World Cup exit in the second round on Sunday.

Mexico have now exited the past five World Cups at the same stage, and with their best performances coming in 1970 and 1986 when they reached the quarter-finals, the fans are desperate for to get further.

Watch this space, said Aguirre after his team's 3-1 loss to Argentina.

"We have to recover, we must continue wanting. There are boys willing to fight for Mexico, it's a gift to be able to do so," Aguirre, who might leave his post as manager after just over a year in charge, told a news conference after the defeat.

"We have a great generation of young players who must be put to the best possible use, I believe in four years they will be at the top. We can look towards a bright future," the former Mexico international added.

In 2005, Mexico won the under-17 World Cup, a light at the end of tunnel for their passionate supporters who 17 years earlier suffered the pain of seeing their side expelled from the international scene by FIFA for two years for fielding over-age players for the 1988 Olympic Games qualifiers.

However Aguirre, who also coached the national team at the 2002 World Cup, warned people not to heap too much pressure on the young generation.

"You need patience. These boys have to grow up. After being expelled we've been going up and up and up," he said.

The former Atletico Madrid manager was upset he could not steer the team to greater heights, but praised the players for their commitment.

"I'm not happy and I have the impression I could not change the course of history. I'd like to thank the players for putting up with my opinions," he said.

Experienced squad members Rafael Marquez, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Carlos Salcido had said before the tournament that they would retire afterwards but none were certain about their future when asked by media following the Argentina match.

Aguirre himself said he would make an announcement on his future soon.

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