Sven to experiment with striking options

DENVER - Underfire coach Sven-Goran Eriksson can try out alternative strikers when Mexico meet Bolivia in a friendly on Wednesday.

Top forwards Giovanni dos Santos, Nery Castillo and Guillermo Franco have been denied regular first-team football with their European clubs through injury and loss of form.

The trio are unavailable on Wednesday as it is not an official date of world soccer's ruling body FIFA.

Eriksson has instead named locally-based Omar Bravo, Cesar Villaluz, Argentine-born Matias Vuoso and Sergio Santana in his squad.

Bravo was in the reserves at Deportivo Coruna before returning home last month to play for Tigres UANL in a move he hopes will boost his international career.

He had been a regular starter for Mexico before the transfer to Spain, scoring 14 times in 54 appearances.

Villaluz and Vuoso have made a handful of international appearances without claiming regular places and Santana is uncapped.

COME BACK

Eriksson stirred up controversy by suggesting Mexico's other foreign-based players follow Bravo's example.

"If they are not regulars in their teams it's better they come back," he told reporters last week.

"There's no point in being in Europe for the sake of it."

Mexico, where the clubs pay the highest salaries in Latin America, has only recently begun exporting players.

The match is a warmup for two World Cup qualifiers at the end of the month, at home to Costa Rica and away to Honduras.

Last month Eriksson's side lost 2-0 to the United States in their opening match of the CONCACAF region's final stage, a six-team mini-league.

Although the Mexican federation said Eriksson's job was safe, few believe he would survive a home defeat by Costa Rica.

Bolivia, ninth in the 10-team South American qualifying group, have recalled Spanish-based defender Juan Manuel Pena after an 18-month absence.


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