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Rovers World Cup Connections: Mexico

7 June 2018

With the World Cup about to begin in Russia, we look at connections between Bristol Rovers Football Club and the 32 participating countries.

In some cases these connections are strong and multiple; in others they are tenuous, at best. Mexico are competing in their sixteenth World Cup Finals and are one of only three countries to make it out of their group in each of the last six tournaments.

Opposition in Mexico

No Rovers player has ever furthered his career professionally in Mexico and indeed only two opponents are known to have done so.

Argentinian Alejandro Sabella, who played in both Sheffield United's fixtures against Rovers in the 1977/78 season, appeared 31 times without scoring for Irapuato in the 1988/89 campaign.

French international Amara Simba played for Orient in an FA Cup tie against Rovers in January 1999 and had been on the books of Club León between 1996 and 1998.

They played against Mexico

A number of former Rovers players did indeed play against Mexico in international football.

Elvis Hammond's only cap for Ghana came at the evocatively named Pizza Hut Stadium in Dallas in March 2006, as his side lost 1-0 to Mexico.

Some believe Rovers' promotion push in 2000 came off the rails when influential midfielder Ronnie Maugé left for a Gold Cup game for Trinidad against Mexico in February 2000 and broke his leg.

The fourth of Dave Savage's five Ireland caps came in the summer of 1996 against Mexico. One of Nigel Pierre's 55 caps for Trinidad came in October 2000 when his side crashed to a 7-0 defeat in Mexico City in a World Cup qualifier.

Alan Ball was in the England side which drew 0-0 against the Mexicans in Mexico City in June 1969.

Damian Matthew won nine caps for England at U-21 level, his only goal coming in a 6-0 win against Mexico in May 1990.

Mexico 1970

As holders, England qualified for the 1970 World Cup and the side progressed to meet West Germany in a much anticipated quarter-final.

Despite taking a two-goal lead, England fell apart and lost an epic match 3-2 in León to crash out of the World Cup.

Left back that day, Terry Cooper, was to be both a player and manager at Rovers, playing in 53 (+6) League games for The Gas between August 1979 and October 1981.



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