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Soccer

Mexico manager Gerardo Martino defends national team against critics

Tension is rising with many Mexico fans unhappy with national team coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino as the World Cup looms on the horizon.

Update:
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Gerardo Martino of Mexico speaks with the media during the Mexico Men's National Team Media Day at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 20, 2022 in Carson, California.   Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP
RONALD MARTINEZAFP

On the eve of the 2022 World Cup, Mexico fans’ anger at head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino is reaching fever pitch. Testament to this is the volley of abuse the Argentine received at the conclusion of the midweek friendly game against Colombia where ‘El Tri’ let a 2-0 advantage slip and ended up losing 2-3 on the night. The defeat comes on the back of a sterile 1-0 win over Peru in Los Angeles where a late Lozano goal sealed the win for Mexico.

Speaking at the conclusion of the Colombia game in San Francisco, Martino accepted the mistakes that were made in the second half, but assured that the first 45 minutes were among the best he has had in his four years at the helm of the national side.

“We had one of the best first 45′ in four years, and we could even have scored one more goal. We played that game with a several number of young players who are playing their first games in the national team. That’s what I’ll take.”

The Argentine added: “We have to be fair in our analysis and we need to resolve any issues within the next 30 days. When mistakes were made in the past, the policy was to stay away from younger talent and mistakes were made years ago. Now we end up listening to the people who made those mistakes, talking about tonight’s game”.

Mexico's Argentine coach Gerardo Martino
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Mexico's Argentine coach Gerardo Martino FREDERIC J. BROWNAFP

November friendly tests lined up

Unlike many other national teams, Mexico will play two more friendlies in Europe against Iraq on 9 November and seven days later against Sweden prior to the start of the World Cup. The players from Europe’s top tier will join camp one week before the start of the tournament when their respective leagues will go on winter break.

Mexico are pitted in Group B of the competition and face Poland, Argentina and Saudi Arabia with many feeling that the opener against Lewandowski and co. could determine who joins the highly fancied Argentina in advancing from the group.