Worst Mexican Team Ever? It Just May Be
- I’m grateful for three wonderful years of marriage with my wonderful wife.
- I’m happy the U.S. finished top of the region — again — in World Cup qualifying.
- I’m grateful for the really comfortable weather these past few days, which have allowed for some nice family time.
I’m not here to praise the Mexican national team, but to bury them.
(Seriously. This isn’t a situation like Julius Caesar where Marc Antony claimed he was going to eulogized Caesar in a manner where he would just say “good riddance,” when, actually, he was pointing out the great things Caesar had done for Rome. No. I’m here to bury the Mexican national team.)
As I said above, the U.S. finished qualifying on top of the CONCACAF qualifying group. They qualified weeks ago, along with Costa Rica and Honduras. Last night’s round of qualifiers would determine which team (Mexico or Panama) would go through, and which one (out of Honduras, Mexico and Panama) would move on to the playoffs to be held in November with a home-and-away series against New Zealand.
(A little aside: I was planning on watching the U.S. vs. Panama match, which was being broadcast on BeIn Sports, a not-quite-there soccer and international sports channel that’s shown some U.S. Away matches over the Hex. However, BeIn wasn’t working — damn you Comcast — so I told Meg, “I’m gonna watch the Mexico vs. Costa Rica match to see if the screw it up. That match was broadcast on Telemundo with Andreas Cantor shouting his commentary. Fantastico!)
What’s this, you say? No excitement, you say?
Mexico were terrible, and they looked as if they had given up long before the U.S. had eased their way to the playoff. I was reminded of an interaction with a friend (who is Mexican, with whom I worked, and for whom I have a huge amount of respect) back after the U.S. earned a scoreless draw. I recall him criticizing the reaction of U.S. fans who were, in his mind, way too happy to earn a draw. I told him then that winning at home and drawing on the road would guarantee a place in Brazil. At that time (and after), Mexico weren’t winning anywhere. I also mentioned the fact that Mexico didn’t show any desperation or feel as if they needed to score until there were about five minutes to go. That’s not a good way to inflict yourself on your opposition, or to show your intention to put them under pressure.
Mexico continued this passive play Tuesday night. They were more than happy to go out like punks.
What’s caused this apathy? Possibly achievement, on some level. Gio dos Santos has never been as good as he was when Mexico won the U-17 World Cup back in 2005. He thought he was better than he was at Barcelona, at Tottenham Hotspurs, and at all the other clubs he’s been at since. Since Mexico won the gold medal in last year’s Olympics, they’ve thought they were due something they haven’t earned. (Note: The Olympics is an U-23 tournament, with some limited overage players. They must have thought they could play the same team in senior internationals. They were wrong. ) (Another note: Harry Redknapp, while coaching dos Santos at Tottenham, once said of him, “If he could pass a disco the way he passes the ball, he wouldn’t have any problems. That about sums it up.)
Chicharito Hernandez has been a shell of the player who tool Man United by storm two years ago. Memo Ochoa is a clown of a goalkeeper, and he’s always been a clown of a goalkeeper.
After the U.S. bailed the Mexicans out, Rafa was asked if he wanted to thank the U.S. Of course he didn’t. I think he was looking forward to a long, long vacation. Instead, he and his weak assed teammates had better get ready for a pretty massive commute (about 7,000 miles from Mexico City to Wellington, New Zealand; about 12,000 miles from Manchester to Wellington, Chicharito) in order to prove they belong in Brazil.
Back in March, I said I thought Mexico would qualify comfortably. Now, I’m not so sure.
Maybe the most humane thing would be to bury this “golden generation” of Mexican soccer once and for all.
Go New Zealand.
UPDATE: Mexico are allegedly on the verge of replacing their third coach in qualifying. They stuck for far too long with “Chepo” de la Torre, allowed Luis Fernando Tena to do a terrible job in the dos-a-cero loss to the U.S., and now are bouncing Victor Manuel Vucetich after only two matches. The new, new, new coach will reportedly be Club America coach Miguel Herrera. Good luck to him.