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Mexico coach demands total commitment from his players

© Reuters Limited 2001

MEXICO CITY, June 26 (Reuters) - New Mexico coach Javier Aguirre has warned his players that he expects total commitment to the national team. "I told the players face to face that, if they don't feel fully committed, they can take their things and leave," he said after his first training session. "Nobody wanted to go," he added.

The Mexicans, who have lost their last two World Cup qualifiers and their last six matches in a row, need to beat the United States at home on Sunday to revive their slim hopes of qualifying for Japan and South Korea next year.

Mexico are fifth in the final stage of the CONCACAF qualifying competition with four points from five games.

They need to finish in the top three to qualify for the 2002 World Cup and have five more games to make up a four-point difference with third-placed Honduras. Aguirre took over from Enrique Meza, who resigned after Wednesday's resounding 3-1 defeat in Honduras. He was appointed despite having only three years' experience as a coach. "The players who stayed once the door was shut know that they can't turn back, they are staying here until Sunday and they are going to put their souls on the table," Aguirre said.

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