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MEXICAN NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM TO OPEN 2010 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING AT RELIANT STADIUM JUNE 15

BELIZE SELECTS HOUSTON AS ITS HOME FOR THIS MATCH

HOUSTON —Traffic Sports USA and Lone Star Sports & Entertainment announced that the men’s national soccer teams from Belize and Mexico will square off in A FIFA World Cup qualifying match at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, June 15.

The match will be the first FIFA World Cup qualifier to be played in Houston. The match is the first of a home-and-home series between the nations as they begin the quest to compete in the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa in 2010. Belize will be the home team for the match, with the teams set to face off in Mexico on Saturday, June 21, 2008.

This match marks the beginning of the second round of World Cup qualifying. Belize defeated St. Kitts and Nevis by an aggregate score of 4–2 in round one, while Mexico had a bye in the first round. There are four rounds of qualifying which will conclude next summer, when the top three teams from the CONCACAF region will qualify for World Cup South Africa 2010 and the fourth place team will play a home-and-home series against the fifth place CONMEBOL team for one final spot.

The match will also mark Belize’s debut in the city. Mexico will be making their third trip to Houston in the last 12 months and sixth overall. They played a pair of matches in Houston during last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and faced the United States in a friendly match in February. Mexico made their Houston debut versus the United States on May 8, 2003. They played a pair of CONCACAF Gold Cup matches in Houston in 2005 and faced Bulgaria on November 16, 2005.

For the second consecutive year, Reliant Stadium will host a major international soccer event featuring the Mexican men’s national team on Father’s Day. In 2007, the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal matches were played on Sunday, June 17. Mexico defeated Costa Rica, 1–0, and Guadeloupe topped Honduras, 2–1, before a crowd of 70,092 — the third-largest soccer crowd in Texas history (see chart below).

Likely making his debut in official international competition will be new Mexico coach Jesus Ramirez. Mexico will play three friendly matches under Ramirez — all in the United States — but the match against Belize will be his first in a competitive setting. Mexico faces China in Seattle on April 16, Argentina in San Diego on June 4 and Peru in Chicago on June 8.

Ticket and broadcast information, along with the official kickoff time for the match, will be announced soon.

LARGEST SOCCER CROWDS IN TEXAS HISTORY
Date Event Attendance City
August 9, 2006 FC Barcelona vs. Club América
LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo
70,550 Houston
February 6, 2008 United States vs. México 70,103 Houston
June 17, 2007 Gold Cup Quarterfinal
México vs. Costa Rica; Guadeloupe vs. Honduras
70,092 Houston
May 8, 2003 United States vs. México 69,582 Houston
June 13, 2007 Gold Cup First Round
Cuba vs. Honduras; México vs. Panamá
68,417 Houston

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