MEXICO CITY - Beleaguered Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was given the full backing of the country's football federation on Thursday, one day after a 2-0 defeat away to arch-rivals the United States in a World Cup qualifier. "There's total support for Eriksson because we have a commitment with him to get to South Africa and we are going to be there," said Justino Compean, president of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF). "There are 30 points to play for and we have lost the first three. It hurts us a lot to lose and there's no justification," he added in a news conference at Mexico City airport after the delegation returned from Columbus, Ohio. Eriksson said: "I want to continue. I have a contract and I think that if I left now, I would be a man with no courage. I want to start winning away from home and to take Mexico to the World Cup." "I thought we played well but we didn't get the result. The organisation of the team was good but not the result. If I could do it all again, I would start with the same players." Wednesday's match was the first in the six-team mini league that forms the final stage of the marathon CONCACAF qualifying competition. TOP THREE The top three will qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the fourth-placed team will play off against a South American side for another place in the finals. Mexico have failed to win in four away games since Eriksson was appointed in June and last year lost World Cup qualifiers in Honduras and Jamaica. They only scraped into the final round of the qualifying competition on goal difference from Jamaica. Immediately after Wednesday's game, Eriksson described the performance as Mexico's best away from home under his leadership. The defeat was marred by another sending-off for Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez, who was also dismissed when the U.S. won by the same score in a second round match at the 2002 World Cup. Marquez apologised for the red card after the game. Mexicans have become exasperated at the way their team is now dominated by the U.S. Mexico have failed to win in their last 11 visits to the United States and have not beaten their neighbours at all in five outings. The Mexican media agreed it was all too familiar. "As usual....Rafa Marquez was sent off, Oswaldo Sanchez made a mistake at the crucial moment, the strikers didn't score and the United States beat Mexico," said daily newspaper Milenio.
12 February 2009
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