When I saw Mexico's roster for the U.S. match, the first thing that caught my eye was the inclusion of Antonio Naelson "Zinha" who drew criticism from Hugo Sanchez when Zinha was called in by Ricardo Lavolpe.
Zinha, of course, is Brazilian by birth and Mexican by naturalization.
Now, while I think it's hypocritical of Sanchez to have criticized such a move several years ago and now count on him with the team, I can't say I'm surprised. One of the first things Sanchez said when he was hired was that he would not close the door on any Mexican player, including foreigners. So again, this isn't really a surprise.
Of course, this is being spun around the world as Sanchez's first call-up of a naturalized player. Which, of course, is not.
United States-born Edgar Castillo has a couple of caps for Mexico. What makes Zinha more of a foreigner than Castillo is beyond me. I mean...
Zinha + not born in Mexico = foreigner
Castillo + not born in Mexico = foreigner
Maybe the international wire services forgot about Castillo. Even some of the Mexican press said this move was a way of paving the door open for naturalized players, such as the return of Guillermo Franco (which I would never have thought possible) or even Leandro Augusto, the Brazilian-born Pumas standout.
I didn't really want to get into a rant about foreigners but here goes. I don't see what the big deal is about using foreign born players in any national team, whether it's Mexico or France or Germany. Zinha is a quality soccer player and will help Mexico. He's lived in Mexico for years and honed his skills in his trade in that country. Why not pay his new country back in some way?
Anyway, I'll cut my rant short. I just wanted to point out that Edgar Castillo was the first naturalized player Hugo Sanchez called upon and wound up talking about El Guille. Sorry.