Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio gives Giovani dos Santos and players fitness deadline

Football


After Mexico’s preliminary World Cup roster was announced, Herc Gomez talks about which players he wouldn’t take to Russia.

LOS ANGELES — Giovani dos Santos returned from injury on Friday in L.A. Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over San Jose and will have until June 2 to prove he is fully fit to be included in Mexico’s World Cup squad.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was at StubHub Center to watch the “California Clasico,” with Jonathan dos Santos playing the full 90 minutes and Giovani coming on for the final 15 minutes in his first game since May 6.

Osorio confirmed earlier Friday that Dos Santos and Mexico’s other injured players — Diego Reyes, Hector Moreno and Andres Guardado — will have up until the farewell game against Scotland in Mexico City to prove their fitness for Russia 2018.

“They have to show us that they are in top condition and if not they aren’t going to be in [the squad] and that’s the truth,” said Osorio. “Aside from us having empathy, we have to take the 23 that are in the best athletic condition possible to be able to compete.”

Osorio urged Giovani dos Santos to come into Mexico camp and make an impact, with El Tri set to cut the squad from the current 27 players to 23 on June 4, before travelling to Denmark.

“Giovani is a unique case, sui generis,” said Osorio. “We’ve all hoped for Gio to be an influential player like he was against the Netherlands [in the 2014 World Cup] and the expectations are very different to the reality. I hope that he is 100 percent and can compete for a place.”

Jonathan dos Santos confirmed after that he and his brother could be available for minutes on Monday in Mexico’s friendly against Wales in the Rose Bowl, should Osorio require them.

Mexico’s pre-World Cup camp has already been rocked by injury, with defender Nestor Araujo leaving the squad on Wednesday following a setback on his recovery from a left knee injury.

“To see him cry was moving and more so when it is an unfortunate sporting situation,” said Osorio. “It’s been very difficult for me, but it is an opportunity for others, in this case Hugo Ayala, Edson Alvarez, Carlos Salcedo or Diego Reyes.”

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.



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