Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport World Cup 2002

 You are in: Team Pages: Mexico  
Front Page
Statistics
Team Pages
Features
Other News
Sports Talk
TV/Radio Coverage
Photo Galleries
Venues Guide
Matches Wallchart
World Cup Greats
History
Quiz

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather


Click on a name for more detailed team information:

Argentina
Belgium
Brazil
Cameroon
China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Denmark
Ecuador
England
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Paraguay
Poland
Portugal
Rep of Ireland
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Tunisia
Turkey
USA
Uruguay

Friday, 5 April, 2002, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Perez: Tradition in safe hands
Oscar Perez prepares to make a save against England
Perez in action for Mexico against England

separator
space

In February 1996 in Santa Ana, California, Oscar Perez came of age in the crazy world of Mexican goalkeepers.

The man they call "The Rabbit" rifled home a goal in an under-23 friendly against South Korea.

It was akin to a right of passage.

Open Quote
The most important players are at the World Cup and I want to be one of them
Close Quote
Oscar Perez

After all, this is a country where goalkeepers really are a breed apart, where flamboyance and shot-stopping go hand in glove.

Certainly Perez, the current Mexico No 1, has plenty to live up to in the wacky stakes.

Take five-time World Cup stopper Antonio Carbajal (1950-1966). He would kiss and caress the ball after making his first save in every game.

Then, who could forget Jorge Campos?

The former Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire star's perilous outfield forays, acrobatic lunges and riotously fluorescent jerseys were a highlight of both USA 94 and France 98.

Campos, who began his career as a striker, certainly had a taste for goal, and not necessarily his own. He scored 14 times in his debut season with Pumas in 1988.

Even Mexico's current No 2 keeper, Oswaldo Sanchez, has a story.

Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez
Perez is the latest in a long line of eccentric South American keepers

He hit the equaliser in Guadalajara's 3-3 draw with El Nacional in October 2000 in the Copa Merconorte.

Recognition, however, has been a long time in coming for Perez.

Even after his eye-catching left-footed strike from outside the box for the under-age Aztecs, which came when the Mexicans trailed South Korean 1-0 in extra-time, he has had to battle on domestic and international fronts to establish himself.

He is nicknamed "The Rabbit" because his comparatively diminutive 1.71-metre height is countered by an impressive ability to leap.

But he still has a long way to go before his name will be mentioned in the same esteem as those of Carbajal, Campos and that other Latin American keeper-come-goalscorer, Paraguay's Jose Luis Chilavert.

However, after taking two years to establish himself at eight-time national champions Cruz Azul and battling hard to make the regular spot his own by ousting Argentinian Norberto Scoponi, he is now well on his way to fame and glory.

"Those were tough days," Perez told BBC Sport Online.

"I made mistakes to start with and that's why they brought in Scoponi.

Open Quote
All the keepers have the same chances and the one who adapts best to the circumstances will be the No 1 in Asia
Close Quote
Oscar Perez

"I didn't see a future and my friends had to persuade me to stay.

"They were right because I haven't lost my place in the first team since. I followed their advice and I don't regret it."

The 29-year-old has peaked when it matters - conceding just one goal in five second-phase Concacaf qualifiers - and is desperate to reap the rewards of persistence.

"I'm trying to improve every day. The most important players in every country are at the World Cup and I want to be one of them."

The last thing he wants is another wait in the shadows. "I don't feel my position is safe - nobody has an assured place," he said.

"All the keepers have the same chances and the one who adapts best to the circumstances will be the No 1 in Asia."

A lynchpin of the Cruz Azul side that finished runners-up to Boca Juniors in last year's Copa Libertadores, Perez has already shown that he is ready for a scrap.

But that is no surprise for a player who hails from a nation with the warrior blood of the Aztecs coursing through its veins.

INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
TOP STORIES FROM
MEXICO
 TEAMS
 MEXICO
Full coverage:
News and
features
Lineker's verdict
Statistics pages
World Cup so far
Have Your Say
BBCMundo.com
 SQUAD PROFILES
 RESULTS/REPORTS

GROUP G
  P GD PTS
MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3

 WATCH/LISTEN
 BBC SPORT BULLETINS
 OUR BEST AUDIO
More Audio/Video




© BBC ^ Back to top

Front Page | Statistics | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | TV/Radio Coverage | Photo Galleries | Venues Guide | Matches Wallchart | World Cup Greats | History | Quiz

BBC Sport >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
BBC World Service >> | BBC Radio Five Live >>
© MMII | News Sources | Privacy