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Mexico exiles given final chance to press World Cup claims

Manchester United's Javier Hernandez controls the ball during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at Old Traf
Manchester United's Javier Hernandez controls the ball during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at Old Traf

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Eight Mexican internationals based in Europe will have a final opportunity to claim a place in Mexico's World Cup squad in next month's friendly against Nigeria.

Coach Miguel Herrera has five warm-up matches scheduled but the Nigeria game at the Georgia Dome in the U.S. city of Atlanta on March 5 is the only one on a FIFA date, which allows for the release of players by their European clubs.

Striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez of Manchester United and Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa head the list of exiles who played no part in Mexico's last-ditch qualification, overcoming New Zealand in a two-leg playoff November.

Hector Moreno of Espanyol, Villarreal's Giovani Dos Santos and Javier Aquino, Porto's Hector Herrera and Diego Reyes, and defender Andres Guardado of Bayer Leverkusen are the others on the list issued by the Mexican Football Federation (www.femexfut.org.mx).

Mexico, who beat South Korea 4-0 last month, face the United States, Ecuador, Bosnia and Portugal in further warm-ups between April 2 and June 6, all in the U.S.

They face Cameroon, hosts Brazil and Croatia, in that order, in Group A at the June 12-July 13 World Cup finals.

(Reporting by Carlos Calvo; writing by Rex Gowar in London; editing by Stephen Wood)

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