Sven faces second day of reckoning

MEXICO CITY - Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson faces another day of reckoning on Saturday against a Costa Rica team who will be attempting to pull off a repeat of their famous Azteca Stadium win eight years ago.

The former Manchester City manager's future with Mexico seems to have been in doubt almost from the day he took over last June and few people believe he will survive a home defeat against the Central Americans in their World Cup qualifier.

The game is Mexico's second in the six-team mini-league which forms the final stage of the marathon CONCACAF qualifying competition.

Having sneaked into the group on goal difference ahead of Jamaica, Mexico got off to a dismal start last month, losing 2-0 away to bitter rivals the United States and having Rafael Marquez sent off.

The Barcelona player was banned for two games and will miss Wednesday's visit to Honduras as well as Saturday's match.

The game will be refereed by Terry Vaughn of the U.S, a controversial choice after he sent off three Costa Ricans in a CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-final in 2007 which Mexico won 1-0.

"I'm not worried, I'm optimistic that we can get a great result," Eriksson said in a news conference on Tuesday.

Tension in the Mexico camp boiled over on Wednesday when Ukraine-based forward Nery Castillo was involved in a furious exchange with journalists.

At the end of a heated news conference, Castillo shouted: "Do you know what your problem is? It's that I'm in Europe and you're in Mexico."

Costa Rica, who beat Honduras 2-0 last month, became the first visiting team to win a World Cup qualifier at the Azteca when they won 2-1 in 2001. They are confident of repeating the performance despite missing playmaker Walter Centeno through suspension.

Coach Rodrigo Kenton, still unbeaten after replacing Hernan Medford following a preliminary-round win against Grenada last year, accused Mexico of underestimating their smaller neighbours.

"They always look down on the teams from Central America," he said in a radio interview.

"They always say there are no worthy opponents for them and that they should be playing in a European tournament."

Possible teams:

Mexico: Oswaldo Sanchez; Ricardo Osorio, Aaron Galindo, Jonny Magallon, Oscar Rojas; Fernando Arce, Alberto Medina, Pavel Pardo, Leandro Augusto; Matias Vuoso, Omar Bravo

Costa Rica: Kielor Navas; Roy Myrie, Gonzalo Segares, Michael Umana, Junior Diaz; Oscar Rojas, Jose Luis Lopez, Carlos Hernandez, Bryan Ruiz; Andy Furtado, Alvaro Saborio

Referee: Terry Vaughn (U.S.)