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Borgetti's injury could increase Fonseca's role for Mexico

| Wednesday, June 14, 2006

GOETTINGEN, Germany - Two weeks ago, Francisco Fonseca's gripes about a lack of playing time made him the target of Mexican coach Ricardo Lavolpe's wrath.

Now, with Jared Borgetti out - possibly for the rest of the first round - with a muscle tear in his left thigh, the forward known as "Kikin" could find himself in the starting lineup for Mexico's next World Cup game.

Borgetti, Mexico's leading career scorer with 38 international goals, was injured while chasing down a loose ball early in the second half of El Tri's Cup opener, a 3-1 victory over Iran on Sunday.

An MRI exam on Tuesday revealed the tear, which is expected to keep the 33-year-old Bolton striker out up to 10 days.

Sticking to what he told reporters last week, though, Fonseca insisted that he will be happy with whatever role Lavolpe gives him against Angola on Friday in Hanover.

"That decision is made by Ricardo, but I'm ready," Fonseca said through a translator after the team's training session on Wednesday. "I'm ready for whatever he decides - five minutes, 10 minutes or on the bench."

Lavolpe has not let his team scrimmage in front of reporters since Borgetti was hurt. But if the coach decides to go with a three-forward lineup against Angola, as he did in the first half against Iran, Kikin could be seeing a lot of time as the third forward with Omar Bravo and Guillermo Franco.

"Borgetti is our forward with the most goals. We lose him, we lose a lot of potential," defender Gonzalo Pineda said. "But Kikin, Franco, Bravo - those are great players who are waiting for an opportunity, and they can do it very well."

In a newspaper interview late last month, just before the team arrived in Germany, Lavolpe sharply criticized Fonseca - who had complained that he wasn't being used enough in pre-World Cup exhibitions.

Lavolpe said Fonseca, who plays for Cruz Azul in the Mexican league, was "saying stupid things." The coach also noted that while Fonseca was playing for Pumas, that Mexican club brought in two other forwards - implying the team didn't feel Fonseca was good enough.

But on Sunday, when Borgetti went down in the 52nd minute against Iran, Lavolpe bypassed Jesus Arrellano and chose Fonseca to replace him.

Mexico scored twice in the final 20 minutes, and Kikin assisted on the clinching goal by Antonio Naelson, the Brazilian-born midfielder better known as Zinha.

"Ricardo decides, I'm telling you," Fonseca said with a smile on Wednesday. "But I'm happy with my World Cup debut, and I'm happy my team won. It was just coincidence that I was on the field for those two goals."

Borgetti could also miss Mexico's final Group D game against Portugal on June 21. If Mexico advances to the second round, as it is favored to do, its next game would be on June 24 or 25, likely against Argentina or the Netherlands.

"Right now, it's no longer hard for him to walk," Dr. Jose Luis Serrano, the team physician, said of Borgetti. "But we're still going slowly." Additional Information:

World Cup online

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