Soccer

Mexico ’embarrassed’ by early World Cup exit


AL KHOR, Qatar — Mexico‘s national teams director Jaime Ordiales said he feels “professional embarrassment” for the national team’s early exit from the group stage of the 2022 World Cup and promised a rebuild for the next World Cup cycle.

“We’re embarrassed and we have to apologise,” Ordiales said during a news conference on Thursday along with Mexican Football Federation (FMF) president Yon de Luisa. “It’s necessary to face this failure and this makes us responsible to have to show the professional embarrassment that we have.”

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El Tri finished third in Group C after claiming a 0-0 draw with Poland, a 2-0 loss to Argentina, and most recently on Wednesday night, a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia that was one goal short of pushing them into the round of 16.

It was Mexico’s worst World Cup showing in 40 years, and El Tri had advanced past the first round in the previous seven consecutive World Cups.

“We were one goal from avoiding failure,” De Luisa said. “We will be making structural changes, like in the number of foreign players in the tournaments.”

Liga MX president Mikel Arriola said in a statement Thursday that the league would also support any decisions the federation made.

Gerardo “Tata” Martino resigned after the win to the Saudis, saying: “my contract ended as soon as the referee blew the final whistle and there is nothing more to be done.”

On Thursday, Ordiales also confirmed that Martino was officially out as manager.

“His contract ended yesterday,” Ordiales said. “In the end, the results command.

“With a failure like this it is impossible for him to continue,” Ordiales said. “I know he is a hard worker, I’ve seen him every day, but we work for the national team and the best thing to do right now is to look elsewhere.”

Uruguayan coach Guillermo Almada, who just won the Liga MX with Pachuca, is a candidate for the position. Miguel “Piojo” Herrera, who led Mexico at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is also in the mix.

Mexico have in the past signed their coaches through the last game of the World Cup.

Four years ago, after falling to beat Brazil in the round of 16, they offered an extension to Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who declined the offer.

It’s the first time Mexico will not be featured in the World Cup knockout stage since 1990, when they were banned from the tournament. The last time El Tri qualified for the tournament and failed to make it out of the group stage was in 1978.

De Luisa and Ordiales also noted that they don’t plan to resign from their positions, regardless of what happened in the World Cup, ultimately leaving the decision up to those in charge.

“A resignation is not necessary and now that this cycle ends, the [league] owners will decide whether to continue this or not,” De Luisa said.

On Wednesday night, Martino took responsibility for Mexico’s group stage exit, stating that “as the person in charge, it causes a lot of sadness, I fully assume responsibility for this great failure.”

Martino, who previously coached his native Argentina, took over as Mexico boss in January 2019 after he led Atlanta United to victory in MLS Cup.

The Argentine coach became increasingly unpopular among Mexico’s supporters as the team made hard work of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, losing to the United States and Canada on the road and only drawing with them at home.

During Martino’s tenure, Mexico were also beaten by the United States in the finals of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League and the 2021 Gold Cup.

Ahead of the World Cup, Martino was heavily scrutinised for his decision to continue excluding record goal scorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez from his squad, particularly amid Mexico’s scoring struggles in Qatar.


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