Pressure on Eriksson as Mexico visit Canada

October 13, 2008
By Brian Homewood

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Mexico visit Canada for a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday with the pressure firmly on coach Sven-Goran Eriksson after their stunning loss to Jamaica.

The Mexican media reacted furiously to Saturday's defeat which gave more ammunition to critics who said the former England coach, appointed in June, was not ready for the tough conditions he would face in the Caribbean and Central America.

A win in Edmonton will be enough to send Mexico into next year's final stage of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, but failure could mean their fate being decided in Honduras next month.

"We have still got two games to play and we will have to search for qualification in Canada," said defender Rafael Marquez, who will not play after picking up a second yellow card.

Mexico and Honduras are level on nine points at the top of Group Two with Jamaica in third place on four points. The top two progress to the final stage of the marathon contest.

Canada, who have one point and are eliminated, will be playing for pride.

Honduras will send both themselves and Mexico through if they beat Jamaica in Kingston on Wednesday, but the Reggae Boyz, under interim coach Theodore Whitmore, are buoyed by Saturday's shock win and also face Canada at home in November.

El Salvador will follow Costa Rica through from Group Three if they draw with or beat Suriname in San Salvador.

Costa Rica, who have taken a maximum 12 points and guaranteed their place by winning in Suriname on Saturday, host Haiti in the other match.

In Group One, Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala remain neck and neck in their battle to join the United States, who are already through.

Both teams have five points from four games after drawing with each other home and away.

However, the fixture list favours the Soca Warriors who play both their remaining games at home, starting with the U.S. on Wednesday. Guatemala, who must travel for both matches, visit Cuba.