If Mexican futbol excels at anything, it’s playing the blame game. This time around, Mexico’s poor results away from home fell at the feet of Sven Goran Eriksson. He was shown the door this afternoon.
Did it matter that Mexico hadn’t won in Honduras since the short shorts days (1993) or ten years in the US? How could it? Mexican team owners, the ones who change coaches the way new moms change diapers, are also the ones in charge of the national team. They did the only thing they know how to do. And they are not finished. They have the FMF heads in their sights as well.
In a span of one year and 2 days, the Mexican National Team will have had 3 head coaches: Hugo Sanchez, Eriksson, and now Javier Aguirre. Almost a year ago, I blogged about Hugo’s impending doom. Was SGE the guy that brought in “a fresh perspective, new ideas, and a new energy?” We’ll never know. SGE certainly looked the part. He worked his ass off to learn Spanish, he made it a point to go to every game he could on the weekends, and he brought in a lot of players in for a look. I posted earlier that if he would have started his first press conference by downing an habanero with a salsa bufalo and tequila chaser and then asked "any questions", things might have been different.
Unfortunately for SGE, he was only able to harvest one point from 5 games away from the Azteca, along with a -6 goal differential. As Bigsoccer Member, Superdave, put it so eloquently...
When SGE was hired, I saw the logic in it. Mexico had probably gone as far as it could with a purely "Latin" way of playing and doing things. And with the Velas and Castillos coming up and more players in Europe, a European coach, they figured, would retain the essential Mexican characteristics and ADD to them, add a European mentality, diversify their style, add some mental toughness and ability to grind it out when necessary.
Instead, it looks to me like the reverse has happened. SGE has killed off the best parts of the Mexican style and retained the weaknesses.
So Mexico is left looking for answers once again. Their constant chest thumping and "Gigantes de Concacaf" proclamations have always rung hollow with me. First of all, being the giants of Concacaf don’t mean squat. Concacaf is like a non BCS conference in College Football. Sure, occasionally they’ll beat one of the big boys. But it doesn’t happen often consistently enough to warrant the respect they think they deserve.
Mexico’s problem in Concacaf is that all the other teams have vastly improved since the short shorts days. And Mexico? We hear it all the time, “we have the best league, we have the most talent, our infrastructure in unparalleled, we have a bunch of players in Europe.” For the past few months “now we have a world class coach” was added.
So why isn’t Mexico running away with the hex? Plateauing? Complacency? Arrogance? Laziness? Check, check, check, and check.
Achieving excellence in any field takes a ton of hard work and sacrifice. Maintaining that level of excellence takes even more. Somehow, this has been forgotten in Mexican futbol. It’s up to Javier Aguirre now to see if he can remind the players just that. Hopefully they’ll listen. They sure love to talk about how good they are. It would be nice if they can occasionally show us.