Ochoa, Perez battling to start in goal for Mexico

Ochoa, Perez battling to start in goal for Mexico

Published Jun. 7, 2010 2:49 a.m. ET

There is stiff competition for the Mexico goalkeeper's job at the World Cup, with Guillermo Ochoa and Oscar Perez vying to start the tournament opener on Friday against South Africa.

Coach Javier Aguirre says he knows who will be in his starting lineup, but he has yet to talk about it with reporters.

Ochoa, 24, has been the starter since Aguirre took over the team 14 months ago after Sven-Goran Eriksson was fired. But in two recent friendlies against England and Italy, the 37-year-old Perez was in goal.

``I have never lost hope,'' said Perez, who was the starter for Mexico in the 2002 World Cup when Aguirre was also the manager. ``I came to the team with the hope of being able to play in the World Cup.''


Perez was also a backup on Mexico's 1998 World Cup team.

Ochoa, who was a reserve on the 2006 squad, has played less in the last few friendlies with Perez getting more playing time. He had a poor game 2 1/2 months against North Korea, which seemed to open the door for Perez.

``These are decisions for the coach,'' Ochoa said. ``One never knows who is going to play. You don't know until the lineups come out that day.''

The third keeper is Luis Michel, who seems unlikey to play in the World Cup unless there are injuries.