PARIS – Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson is determined to stake his claim to be his country's regular number one as he prepares to line up in a friendly against Mexico Tuesday.
The Selecao head into the upcoming game in Torreon following a 1-0 win over Costa Rica last week, where Santos star Neymar scored the only goal.
Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson, who replaced Julio Cesar during the Costa Rica game after the Inter Milan man suffered an injury, is ready to play and predicted: "We know the game will be much more open, different to the match against Costa Rica, but I am ready to get onto the field.
"Unfortunately, this is not the opportunity I expected as Julio Cesar is injured, but this is a part of football. I am happy and ready for the game,'' he told Globo TV.
Jefferson will make his fourth appearance in the national team and wants to hold on to the position between now and the 2014 World Cup finals, which will be played in Brazil.
"I've gained big experience in the youth teams, but the main goal is the senior squad,'' he added.
"I respect Julio Cesar a lot. I respect all the other keepers who have played for the national team, but my goal is not being a reserve. I don't want to be on the bench. On the field, each of us wants to be the best.''
Ahead of the game at the Estadio TSM, Neymar is hoping for a less physical encounter than he faced against the Costa Ricans.
"I hope the team play better against Mexico. I don't know whether or not we'll
have more space to play, but I expect to be fouled less,'' he said.
Mexico striker Javier Hernandez is anxiously waiting for the clash against the
Selecao as he believes they are the best team they can play against.
"This is extraordinary. Everybody knows who Brazil are, their history,'' he
"We are waiting for the best Brazil team and we'll train hard as we've been doing since Friday,'' the Manchester United forward told Televisa Deportes.
Also, Mexico may have to manage without goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who has twisted his left ankle and is not walking properly.
"I picked up the injury on Friday and I am getting better little by little. I don't know if I can play because doctors will test me. There is little pain. We'll see what happens,'' he told Mediotiempo.com.
Oswaldo Sanchez has been called up and had been expected to be honoured with a
100th and final cap in place of Ochoa at some stage of the friendly before
retiring from the international game.
However, Ochoa's injury may hand Sanchez the starting position and the injured
custodian is happy for him.
"I think he deserves this because of the career he has built. He has done a
number of important things for the national team,'' he said.