Victor Manuel Vucetich to lead Mexico
ESPN FC: El Tri's new man
The Mexican national soccer team changed coaches again, turning to Victor Manuel Vucetich two days after its World Cup qualifying loss to the United States.
Vucetich named his coaching staff during a news conference Thursday and said he felt he needed to accept the challenge offered.
"Yes, this is a hot potato but I hope it turns into something gold," Vucetich joked with reporters. "It is time to get down to work."
"The hierarchy of the players doesn’t matter to me,” Vucetich said. “What matters to me is Mexico, Mexico and Mexico.”
The move was the third coaching change for Mexico in the past week. After the team's 2-1 home loss to Honduras in World Cup qualifying last Friday, the team fired manager Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre. Luis Fernando Tena, one of De la Torre's top assistants, took the post on an interim basis, but in his first game at the helm Tuesday night, Mexico suffered a 2-0 loss to the Americans, leaving it on the brink of not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Mexico has scored only four goals in the North and Central American and Caribbean finals this year, dropping into fifth place in the group of six countries. The most likely, and even upbeat, scenario is that the team heads to a playoff against New Zealand to qualify for the world tournament.
Mexico does control its own destiny for fourth place thanks to hosting Panama on Oct. 11, followed by a game at Costa Rica to finish qualifying on Oct. 15.
El Tri has qualified for five straight World Cups, last missing out in 1990, when the team was banned from qualifying for using ineligible players in a junior tournament. The last time Mexico participated in qualifying and did not reach the World Cup was 1982.
Mexico’s current four-game qualifying winless streak matches its worst ever in World Cup qualifying.
Before Friday’s loss to Honduras, Mexico was unbeaten in 27 straight home qualifiers and in 18 straight qualifiers at Estadio Azteca. That was Mexico’s 2nd-ever home loss in 78 home qualifiers.
El Tri dropped to 21st place in this week’s FIFA rankings, falling even as the United States climbed to the No. 13 spot.