The Mexican soccer virus

Posted by David Faitelson

Using medical terminology it is often said, "It was a virus." And nothing more. There is no further explanation, interpretation, analysis, or study.

The screen barely registered a heartbeat. The vital signs dropped quickly and the patient went into convulsions. The doctors noted the time of the incident, but they never fully and precisely explained what had exacerbated the situation.

Miguel Tovar/Getty ImagesVictor Vucetich (R) talks to his players in training session prior to critical match against Panama.

The Mexican national team must greatly improve this upcoming Friday if it truly wants to keep its hopes alive for qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The question is what, where, and how must this team improve? Nobody has fully explained to us what really deteriorated in the team, what happened on the inside, on the field, and in the surroundings of a team that has lost its direction and competitive attitude. Was it a soccer related matter? Was it a mental issue? Was it a combination of both? Was it the players' fault? Was it the manager's fault? Was it the directors' fault? Was it the Mexican soccer system's fault? What happened to the Mexican team of 'Chepo' de la Torre?

- Ramos: The stars are aligning for El Tri

This isn't about finding people to blame. This is about learning the details of a terrible relapse and learning from past mistakes so as not to make them again. The Mexican soccer world doesn't seem very interested in knowing how its health started to fail and how to prevent future problems. There are interests that want to quickly erase the past, make all that appears negative disappear, save the hides of some and salvage the businesses of others.

Whatever the case, Mexico needs to improve on all fronts. Its soccer has become mechanical, predictable, uncreative, and has fallen to one of the poorest levels in the world. Mexico also needs to improve mentally, where it showed it has shortcomings, weaknesses, as a team that lacks character and personality and needs strength and size in order to fight adversity. What percentage of the game is soccer and what percentage is mental? I suppose that Victor Manuel Vucetich, who inherited a team that was already "up in flames," had already realized the predicament he was in and what is needed.

There is a bit of bad fortune, but there is also good fortune at the same time. A contradiction in all of this Mexican "adventure" in finding a way of obtaining that ticket to the World Cup. The positive side, if one wants to look at it this way, is that despite Mexico's insistence on failing, it still has a real chance of winning a slot at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But the negative or mediocre part indicates that the performance turned in by the team is nowhere near World Cup level.

The upcoming days will be decisive. Nobody is trying to delve into what really brought Mexican soccer into the "intensive care unit." The easiest, most recurring, most banal, and superficial thing to say is: "It was a virus."


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