Mexico missed the group stage for the first time since 1978 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. World Cup tradition has El Tri in the round of 16. The 2026 co-hosts leave early for the first time in decades after seven rounds of 16. The 2022 team needed the last 45 minutes of the group stage to escape going home without a World Cup goal after a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.
On their final matchday, Henry Martin and Luis Chavez made sure that wasn’t the case for El Tri, but it was too little and too late with few permutations that favored them to advance. After their World Cup run, the Mexican federation must figure out how to recover significance in modern football before hosting the 2026 tournament.
1. New coaches
- Tata Martino’s seat was boiling before Mexico’s Qatar match. After Martino won an MLS championship with Atlanta United in 2019, the squad never reached its peak form. After the 2018 World Cup, the team qualified for Qatar behind Canada in the octagonal group. Before the World Cup, Mexican federation president Yon de Luisa said Martino will “find their form” and contend.
In his postgame comments, Martino effectively ended his tenure:
- I am first responsible for this awful disappointment and frustration,” Martino stated. As the leader, I take full responsibility for this huge failure.
- My contract ended when the referee blew the last whistle.”
Here are some candidates to coach the team to the next World Cup. After Mexico failed to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in July 2021, Pedro Lopez was named head coach in August and officially announced in September. If the timeline continues, the federation may hire a new men’s head coach before the new year.
Let’s examine some current candidates:
Ricardo Tuca Ferretti: The Brazilian strategist coached Tigres UNAL for a decade. He coached the national team but never officially.
Antonio Mohamed: The former Argentina international played and managed Monterrey. He’s expressed interest in coaching the men’s team.
Matias Almeyda: Another ex-Argentine with Mexican roots. He coaches AEK Athens in the Greek Super League and has won Copa MX and a Concacaf Champions League.
Miguel Herrera: Former Tigres manager was fired from the Mexican national team after a physical fight with a commentator.
2. Clear vision
El Tri’s first two group-stage games were plagued by repeated runs out wide with no other runs into the box for support. The two goals were scored in the last game against the flow of play off of two different set pieces, despite the fact that Martino frequently spoke out in news conferences about the need for more bodies in front of the goal. It emphasizes, even more, the gulf between the players and the coach.
More than simply experience will be required of whoever takes over the national team program. In this soccer era, they will need to have a clear vision for the squad. El Tri’s lack of goals plagued them over a number of games leading up to the World Cup, and it ultimately cost them a place in the knockout round. Although dealing with injuries and a pandemic are impediments, they shouldn’t always be used as justifications. Players who find and regain their form will always exist. They won’t learn the game plan because the coaching staff will keep that a secret.
3. more clearly defined player roles
It’s acceptable to focus on the individuals you want to assemble around for 2026 by looking at your core of young athletes. Those discussions ought to have started earlier, but Hector Herrera and Andres Guardado were chosen for the team over other players because of their experience and veteran status, and neither player played in the final game.
A continuing commitment to development plans for the younger core of players must start now because Mexico will serve