With only five months until the World Cup, Mexico is struggling.
El Tri secured a ticket to the international tournament after concluding a turbulent Concacaf qualifying cycle in second place, narrowly edging out the United States. But the celebrations were short lived.
The Mexican national team has not defeated a World Cup-bound opponent since July 2021, when triumphing 2-1 over Canada in the Concacaf Gold Cup semi-final at NRG Stadium. The June window provided El Tri with the opportunity to improve their record, but instead lost 3-0 to Uruguay and drew 0-0 with Ecuador.
Former Mexican national team head coach Miguel ‘Piojo’ Herrera is not impressed, calling out current manager Tata Martino despite his successful start with the team.
“As a coach, it seems to me that the national team is not working. From what I saw at the beginning and what Tata did when he arrived, he had an extraordinary year, everything started very well,” he declared in an interview with Marca.
“Today it seems to me that nothing he puts on the pitch is working, the other day he switched to five-a-line and Uruguay ran over us. He returned to his traditional formation, which is the one that best dominates the team, and he did not look so overwhelming either.”
Piojo Herrera originally took charge of El Tri in 2013, replacing Víctor Manuel Vucetich. He led the team to the 2014 World Cup, finishing second in their group with seven points after defeating Cameroon and Croatia, and drawing 0-0 vs. Brazil. El Tri was controversially eliminated after losing 2-1 vs. the Netherlands in their Round of 16 match.
Despite his successful run with the national team, Piojo Herrera must watch and criticize the national team as a fan.
“That’s what I see as a coach, as a fan I don’t like it but I have to support, and from here I want him to recover, that all the boys and the coach return to what they did at the beginning because a very disputed World Cup is coming, the group stage is not going to be easy,” he added.
“That is why today the criticism is very strong towards the national team coach, because we are not seeing improvement, because the team started very well and today we are not even seeing that he is at the same level as when this era started. Any team has its level of demand and you have to adapt to it, work to give results. If not, it is simply thank you and next.”
Mexico returns to action on Saturday when facing Suriname in the Concacaf Nations League, but the team enters the competition with a different roster than previously announced for the June window. Tata Martino originally called up 38 players to experiment with formations, but has since released 16 veteran figures all expected to go to the World Cup.
Now it appears Martino will use the two upcoming matches to test younger players as they fight to secure a spot in the definitive November squad.