Mexico's Franco recovers from foot injury

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Mexico forward Guillermo Franco hopes to start in the World Cup's opening match against South Africa after recovering from a foot injury.

The 34-year-old Franco injured a toe on his right foot in the exhibition game against England on May 24 and has not played since. He said he's "100 percent recovered" and ready to play Friday against South Africa.

"I'm feeling very good because the injury has gone away," Franco said Wednesday.

Mexico coach Javier Aguirre now has a tough choice: start Franco or 22-year-old Javier Hernandez, who has scored three times in four games and was recently signed by Manchester United.

"I think that all of us have the same opportunities to play," Franco said. "It's his (Aguirre's) decision. For me, the most important thing at the moment is that I'm fine, and if he decides that I should play, I'm ready."

Franco, a naturalized Mexican born in Argentina, started for Mexico at the 2006 World Cup. He was dropped by coaches Hugo Sanchez and Sven Goran Eriksson, but when Aguirre took over, he recalled Franco to the team.

Franco is one of the few veterans on a young Mexico team. Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez, goalkeeper Oscar Perez and midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco are the other veterans.

The team is "a good group" of players, Franco said.

"In this World Cup, youth and experience are blending together," he said. "We're prepared and motivated to have a great World Cup."

Mexico is in Group A with South Africa, Uruguay and France.