Michael Place SARANSK Russia (Xinhua) --
Peru captain Paolo Guerrero says he is ready to
play in his team’s opening World Cup match against Denmark after
his doping ban was temporarily lifted, team coach Ricardo Gareca
said on Friday.
Guerrero has played just two matches
for his Flamengo club since December, when he was banned for
testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine.
He said that he unwittingly consumed the substance in
contaminated tea and that it did not enhance his sporting
A Swiss court last month granted an order to freeze
Guerrero’s 14-month ban during the World Cup in Russia, which
began on Thursday.
The tournament marks Peru’s first appearance in football’s
biggest event since 1982.
Gareca told a news conference that he had yet to decide if
the 34-year-old would start in Saturday’s match at Mordovia
"I always wait until the last second to make my mind up," the
"Paolo has looked very good since rejoining the national
"I know he’s very, very happy.
"He is fit and ready to play."
In handing down its decision, the Swiss Federal Tribunal said
it considered the likelihood that Guerrero would not play in a
World Cup, given his age.
It also ruled that Guerrero "did not act intentionally or
with significant negligence."
The court added that an appeal to overturn the suspension
would be considered at a later date.
Days earlier, the captains of Peru’s World Cup Group C rivals
- Australia, France, and Denmark - signed a letter asking FIFA
to reconsider the ban.
"We want to express our gratitude to all of the captains,"
"It was a great demonstration of solidarity with our national
And this has been very positive for Guerrero."
Peru’s all-time leading scorer with 32 goals in 86
international matches was given a 12-month ban last December but
the penalty, backdated to November, was halved less than two
weeks later by FIFA’s appeal committee.
However the Court of Arbitration for Sport extended the
suspension by eight months on May 14 - two weeks after he
returned for Brazil’s Flamengo - after a challenge by the World
The new ruling barred the former Bayern Munich player from
all football-related activities until next January.
Mexica have to maintain "a
cool head" to prevail in Russia, says former player
MEXICO CITY Russia (Xinhua) --
The Mexican football team will have to adopt a
combative and united attitude to shine at the 2018 World Cup,
said former Mexican national football player Miguel Espana.
Despite the importance of the World Cup, Espana reiterated
Mexico must maintain "a cool head" to prevail.
Espana, who played with his team during the 1986 World Cup in
Mexico, told Xinhua that the current squad must trust in the
speed, intelligence and ability of its players.
Mexico will line up on Sunday for its first game against
Germany, the reigning World Cup champions.
The "Tri", as the Mexican team is affectionately known, is in
Group F against Germany, Sweden and South Korea.
"The key to success for the Tri will be concentration in
conceding no goals ...," explained Espana.
When facing South Korea and Sweden, he advised that the team
must dominate the midfield to try and score.
Should all these elements come together, Espana said "Mexico
has high chances of going beyond the round of 16 matches."
"The main challenge facing the squad is for the team to be
‘complete,’ with the same idea, the same confidence and, that
way, face all the difficulties in their path," he added.
Espana, whose coaching career saw him take the Pumas UNAM, a
Mexican league football club, to the final of the Copa
Sudamericana in 2005, said that the Tri could do well, since 15
of the 23 players played at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
"The strategy being developed and applied by the team at the
World Cup in Russia will be crucial.
"However, I think Mexico needs to know how to use its key
elements, such as Hirving Lozano and his characteristic speed,"
He named goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, midfielder Hector Herrera,
and striker Carlos Vela, as well as Lozano, as being key to
For Mexico, football represents happiness, emotion and
passion, as evidenced by the thousands of compatriots who travel
around the world to follow their team.
"I would tell the Tri to get passionate, to leave it all on
the pitch, to do it with happiness and pleasure to be able to
fully enjoy such an enriching career as football," he explained.
A few days ago, Mexican coach Juan Carlos Osorio told the
press he was optimistic and emotional.
"We are going to give our all ... we know the group well.
"Today, we have players in other positions and they are doing
"This gives us a great possibility of having a plan B and
"We will start the World Cup and the competition will be
fierce," he said.
Mexico will be hoping to get past the first round of the
knockout phase and make to the quarterfinals, something it has
not done since 1986.