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Mexico coach Miguel Herrera includes veteran defender Carlos Salcido in World Cup squad

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MEXICO CITY - Veteran defender Carlos Salcido was the biggest surprise in Mexico's 23-man World Cup team announced Friday by coach Miguel Herrera.

It was the first call-up for Salcido since Herrera took over as Mexico coach late last year. Salcido was on Mexico's team for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

"Regarding Salcido, we don't need to give him a tryout," Herrera said. "We've watched him in the Mexican league. He's a versatile player who can play in many positions in the back, and also at midfield."

Salcido was a key player on Mexico's gold-medal team at the 2012 London Olympics.

Mexico will take nine players to Brazil who were on the team four years ago in South Africa: Salcido, Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Marquez, Paul Aguilar, Guillermo Ochoa, Javier Hernandez, Hector Moreno, Giovani Dos Santos and Andres Guardado.

Marquez, the team captain, will be playing in his fourth World Cup.

Herrera left off two big names — goalkeeper Moises Munoz, who played for Herrera when he coached Club America, and midfielder Javier Aquino of Spain's Villarreal.

"We feel for players who were left out," Herrera said. "The decisions were made with the head, not the heart."

The biggest name missing is Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela, who said months ago he would not play and cited unspecified personal reasons. Vela is widely considered Mexico's best attacking player.

Mexico almost missed out on a sixth consecutive World Cup, needing a two-game playoff with New Zealand to qualify. It faces tough competitions in Group A with games against Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon.

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Team:

Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio, France), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).

Defenders: Paul Aguilar (America), Miguel Layun (America), Francisco Rodriguez (America), Rafael Marquez (Leon), Hector Moreno (Espanyol, Spain), Andres Guardado (Bayern Leverkusen, Germany), Diego Reyes (Porto, Portugal), Carlos Salcido (Tigres).

Midfielders: Carlos Pena (Leon), Luis Montes (Leon), Juan Carlos Medina (America), Hector Herrera (Porto, Portugal), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul).

Forwards: Oribe Peralta (Santos), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United, England), Raul Jimenez (America), Giovani Dos Santos (Villarreal), Alan Pulido (Tigres).

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