Mexico, who recently sacked former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson in the midst of a poor 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying campaign, on Thursday announced they would play two US friendlies in June.

The Mexicans, who have sputtered to fourth in North, Central American and Caribbean Zone qualifying after three of 10 final-round matches for the South African showpiece, will face Venezuela on 24 June in Atlanta and Guatemala four days later in San Diego.

El Tri will use the matches as a tune-up for the regional CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament at US venues in July. Mexico will open that event against Nicaragua on 5 July in Oakland, California.

Mexico, who lost to Honduras and arch-rival United States and beat Costa Rica, stand fourth in qualifying with only the top three assured a spot in South Africa. The fourth-place team must come through against the fifth-best finisher from South America in a play-off to reach the world finals.

Mexico, now with Javier Aguirre at the helm, will complete the first half of qualifying with matches at El Salvador on 6 June and at home four days later to Trinidad and Tobago. Qualifiers then resume 12 August when the USA visits Mexico City.

Eriksson was dumped after barely 10 months on the job for Aguirre, who guided Mexico to the round of 16 in the 2002 finals in Korea/Japan. He spent five years in Spain leading Atletico Madrid into the UEFA Champions League.