News Analysis: Mexico’s Tata Martino goes in full swing as seat heats up

Coaching the Mexican national soccer team is one of the most unforgiving jobs in the sport, one that requires you to be perfect from the start, and then improve as you progress.

It takes more than two months before the World Cup finals, and that’s where Tata Martino It is now. So even Saturday’s 1-0 win over Peru ahead of 62,729 green-clad fans at the Rose Bowl is unlikely to satisfy his critics.

The only goal of the match came from Herving Lozano In the 85th minute, it bounced off the goalkeeper. But Martino will take his bright spots wherever he finds them.

“I feel happy, excited and excited to face the challenge of the World Cup,” the coach said after entering the post-match press conference, wearing a wide smile. “I have a positive feeling with the team in every way.”

Meanwhile, the hot seat he’s sitting on is getting warmer. He is not the first Mexican to hear the public’s call for his dismissal.

“Maybe we have very short memories,” said the midfielder. Andres Guardado, who remembers calling for the dismissal of Juan Carlos Osorio four years ago. “They shouted at Osorio to leave. They criticized him no matter what.”

before that was Chibo de la Torre And the Javier Aguirre. He was the only coach who escaped the open anger of the Mexican fans and the media Miguel Herrera, whose playful enthusiasm and explanatory demeanor won over his critics. But even he was fired after a Mexican reporter accused the coach of assaulting him at the Philadelphia airport security line.

“At this level, you as a coach are three defeats away from a crisis,” Osorio said in the run-up to his only World Cup as coach of Mexico in 2018. “If I was in another country, maybe they would allow me three. In Mexico, no. Maybe one and that everything “.

Mexico's Hirving Lozano celebrates after scoring against Peru at the Rose Bowl on September 24, 2022.

Mexican Hirving Lozano celebrated after scoring against Peru the only goal of the match.

(Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Martino started well, unbeaten in his first 11 matches and winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup. But he has not won a title since then, losing to the United States in both the Gold Cup and Nations League finals last year.

Mexico met Canada with eight tournament victories and 28 points in World Cup qualifiers, but they have struggled in scoring lately, and have been disqualified three times in their last six matches. The victory over Peru was only the second in that period and Mexico had not defeated a team at the World Cup in over a year.

Martino, who led Paraguay to the World Cup quarter-finals and Atlanta United to the MLS Cup, stressed his tone changed in response to the criticism. He is now battling members of the media he believed were unfair, and in July, when the Mexican Football Association forced sporting director Gerardo Torrado to resign after his under-20 team failed to qualify for the 2024 Olympics, Martino reportedly submitted his resignation in protest. .

This was not accepted and Martino was told to train during the World Cup, where he will celebrate his 60th birthday two days before Mexico’s opening match with Poland.

The turmoil came at the worst of times for Martino who, instead of facing fans who had paid to attend an open practice session at the Rose Bowl on Friday, stayed away.

“You don’t have to tell them anything,” Martino said when asked if he had a message for fans. “We talk about the match on the field. It is not me in a press conference or a player in a press conference who is able to feed people’s hopes and dreams. This has to be shown through the team play.”

But that did not happen on Saturday, when Martino expected five injured players to increase his attack in Qatar. The absence of the true number 9 has hurt Mexico, which again lacked creativity on the last third Saturday.

Peru’s World Cup hopes ended with Australia losing on penalties in an intercontinental playoff in June, but their well-organized defense thwarted Eli Tree in a rough first half. Things didn’t get much better after the break; Although the Mexican press forced Peru into several turnovers, Martino’s team was unable to benefit.

Lozano finally broke the spell, as he grabbed his left shoe with Cesar Montes’ header after a corner kick and fired a shot from the right hand of Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Galese and landed in the roof of the net from outside the left post.

It was the only shot on target for either team. Meanwhile, 350 miles north, Javier “Chicharito” HernandezMexico’s all-time top scorer, but Martino stubbornly left out of his World Cup squad, scored his 16th and 17th goals this season in the Galaxy’s 3-2 win over San Jose.

Martino, who employed 15 players on Saturday, will take another look at his Chicharito-free side when they face Colombia on Tuesday in Santa Clara. After that, he will have less than two months to shorten the list of twenty-six players he will take to Qatar.

“I haven’t spoken to any of them, especially about their guaranteed presence at the World Cup,” he said. There is more certainty and fewer questions. The logical thing is to have more certainty than doubt.”

He can say the same about his job security.

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