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Franco or 'Chicharito' for Mexico striker?

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Even so close to the kickoff of the World Cup, Mexico isn't sure who it's striker will be.

Heading into into Friday's World Cup opener against host South Africa, coach Javier Aguirre has not committed to veteran Guillermo Franco or rising star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

Aguirre also seems to have unsettled questions in goal and midfield, but the striker spot is drawing most of the attention.

Franco scored in a 3-1 loss to England last month in a friendly. But he injured his right foot, opening the door for the 22-year-old Hernandez, who scored three goals in Mexico's last three friendlies, against Gambia, Italy and the Netherlands.

Hernandez played his first match for Mexico only eight months ago, and his profile has soared since. Playing for Guadalajara, he set a Mexican league record with eight goals in the first eight games of the season. He likely would have won the league scoring title, but left the team early to train with the World Cup squad.

In April, he agreed to a deal to join Manchester United after the World Cup.

Hernandez is nicknamed "Chicharito" — which roughly means "little sweet pea" — because of his father, who is also named Javier Hernandez. His father also was on a Mexican World Cup team in 1986, but did not play, and was known as "Chicharo," or simply "sweet pea."

Hernandez's grandfather, Tomas Balcazar, played for Mexico's 1954 World Cup team.

The 33-year-old Franco scored five goals last season with West Ham in the English Premier League. Known as "Guille," he played at the 2006 World Cup. But his foot injury sidelined until just a few days ago.

In goal, 37-year-old Oscar Perez is competing with Guillermo Ochoa, who is 13 years younger. In midfield, there is a battle for a starting place between Andres Guardado and Efrain Juarez. Perez and Juarez seem to have the edge.

In 12 warmup matches heading to the World Cup, Mexico won eight, drew two and lost two.