Skip to main content

Mexico makes another coaching change ahead of vital World Cup playoff

updated 4:12 PM EDT, Fri October 18, 2013
Mexico beat Panama in a World Cup qualifier last week but struggled throughout the qualifying campaign.
Mexico beat Panama in a World Cup qualifier last week but struggled throughout the qualifying campaign.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mexico fires manager Victor Manuel Vucetich after only two games in charge
  • Vucetich won one of his games and led Mexico to a playoff against New Zealand
  • Mexico has played in the last five World Cups and won men's gold at London 2012
  • Mexico squeaked into the playoffs after rival the U.S. rallied to beat Panama

(CNN) -- Coaching the Mexican national team is proving to be a difficult assignment.

When Mexico parted company with Victor Manuel Vucetich and replaced him with Miguel Herrera on Friday, it marked the third time in a month El Tri changed their football manager.

Vucetich didn't have much time to mold the side, as he was only brought in when interim boss Luis Fernando Tena got the boot. Tena himself inherited the position after Jose Manuel de la Torre received his marching orders earlier in September.

Vucetich won his first game 2-1 against Panama, needing a late goal to earn all three points, but lost his second 2-1 at Costa Rica.

Mexico, a proud footballing nation that has appeared in the last five World Cups, won men's Olympic gold in 2012 by topping Neymar's Brazil and captured the under-17 World Cup in 2011, only scraped into a World Cup playoff when fiercest rival the U.S. scored two goals in injury time to beat the Panamanians 3-2 on the road.

Had Panama hung on for the victory, it, not Mexico, would have faced New Zealand next month in the two-leg shootout to reach Brazil.

Vucetich, who has 25 years of coaching experience, likely didn't help his cause ahead of the game against Costa Rica when he labeled his team "arrogant."

"In our game, sometimes we exaggerate, we become arrogant," he told reporters. "I think this is the moment that we should reflect and show, above all, on the pitch that we need to win."

Vucetich revealed Thursday that he had been axed, with Mexico's football federation officially announcing the coaching shuffle Friday.

Mexico's struggles in qualifying came as the U.S. topped the group, Costa Rica finished second and Honduras claimed the third and final automatic World Cup spot.

While Mexico reached the second round in South Africa three years ago, Honduras was last in its group and Costa Rica didn't qualify for the tournament.

On paper Herrera, a former defender for the national team, should lead Mexico to Brazil since New Zealand is ranked 79th by FIFA and Mexico stands 24th but the recent disarray won't hurt the Kiwis' chances of playing at a second straight World Cup.

Herrera guided Club America to the Mexican Clausura title in May.

Vucetich not the only manager to go

Vucetich hasn't been the only manager to lose his job despite his team making the playoffs -- Croatia fired former national team defender Igor Stimac after a 2-1 loss at Scotland.

He was replaced by Niko Kovac, the former hard-nosed captain of Croatia.

Australia sacked Holger Osieck following back-to-back 6-0 defeats against Brazil and France despite the Socceroos being one of the first nations to book a spot in Brazil.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
updated 11:19 AM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
updated 3:24 PM EDT, Mon May 19, 2014
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Tue May 13, 2014
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
updated 12:03 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
updated 1:15 PM EDT, Wed April 30, 2014
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
updated 5:31 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT