Mexico wait on absent Sanchez

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The Independent Online

Jose de Jesus Corona is taking little pleasure from the prospect of replacing Mexico's first-choice goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez against Iran tomorrow.

Sanchez may decide to remain in Mexico after flying home following the death of his father. The Mexican Football Federation gave permission for Sanchez to travel and will support him if he wishes to stay with his family in Guadalajara.

"I do not want to take advantage of Oswaldo," Corona said. "We are hoping he arrives. He is a strong man and we know he will play on Sunday. I am ready to play, but I want him here."

The experienced Iran midfielder Mehdi Mahdavikia insists his side have their sights on the second round. The 28-year-old's experience, including an appearance at the 1998 World Cup, will be invaluable.

Mahdavikia was included in the team of the tournament in 1998, after scoring in a 2-1 win over the US. He has played with the Bundesliga side Hamburg since 1999.

"It is a big advantage for us that we have many players playing in Germany," he said. "To me Germany is like a second home."

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