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International Friendly Preview: Mexico v Ivory Coast

By Football News



Didier Drogba will be looking to fire Ivory Coast to victory when he returns to the Elephants' squad for the clash with Mexico in New Jersey.

The former Chelsea man is back in the international set-up for the first time since his side crashed out of the African Cup of Nations to Nigeria at the quarter-final stage earlier this year, while he also missed three World Cup qualifiers.

He was left out by coach Sabri Lamouchi, who insisted that the striker needed to work on his fitness.

The 35-year-old, now with Turkish outfit Galatasaray, is joined in the 23-man squad by two new faces called up for the friendly.

Malaga midfielder Bobley Anderson and Anderlecht striker Gohi Bi Zoro Cyriac have both been handed their first call-ups and are in line to play some part for their debut.

Joining Drogba in Lamouchi's forward line are Gervinho and Wilfried Bony, who are due to make their first appearances for the national team since moving to Roma and Swansea respectively.

Mexico are in dire need of a win after a disappointing showing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Manager Jose Manuel de la Torre came under fire after his side won just one of their World Cup qualifiers and failed to reach the final of the Gold Cup for the first time in five years - crashing out in the semi-finals to Panama having already been beaten by the same team in the group stages . 

However, after lengthy discussions, the Mexican federation decided to keep faith with the 47-year-old, although the pressure is only likely to intensify should he fail to mastermind a positive result.

Mexico will be hoping to use the fixture as preparation for their World Cup qualifiers next month.

They sit in the third and final qualification place in the CONCACAF zone and face a crucial meeting with fourth-placed Honduras on September 6. 

De la Torre must make do without star forward Javier Hernandez, after the Manchester United man was ruled out by injury.

Oribe Peralta and Raul Jimenez are the only two out-and-out strikers in the squad, although attacking midfielder Giovani Dos Santos is likely to pose a goal threat.