Mexico was in a terrible mental state at the end of the CONCACAF WCQ in 2013. They landed in 4th place, sending them to a playoff with New Zealand. This was something no one forecasted the year prior, but after melt downs in the Confederations cup and WCQ under de la Torre, Mexico had seen itself close to a pure disaster.
Chepo de la Torre was canned, and then Tena…and then Vucetich. The FMF felt it needed to make one last shot by hiring Piojo Herrera to a short term contract, in order to boost Mexico into the World Cup.
What was a controversial move, turned out to be one of the FMF’s best moves in ages. Herrera readied a new look El Tri past New Zealand, and sent them on their way to Brazil. He would then become the full-term manager of El Tri.
After Mexico’s poor WCQ, many didn’t see them advancing out of their group in the World Cup after being paired with Cameroon, Brazil and Croatia. However, Mexico began to take up a great form heading into the World Cup, and they managed to finish tied with Brazil at 7 points after three games.
Mexico’s exit was too early. They were playing some of the best football in years, taking teams on with confidence. Yet, on that fateful day against Holland, Mexico was limited in the round of 16.
We are now post-Brazil 2014 and Herrera continues his reign with Mexico, and for good reason. Since the end of the cup, Herrera has been to looking to the future, giving different names a chance in friendlies. He recognizes that Mexico has many challenges ahead with the Copa América (2015, 2016), Gold Cup, Olympics and possible Confederation cup. El Tri will have the opportunity to showcase its talent on some major stages, and the sour taste leftover from the WCQ can finally be put to rest.
Mexico’s football under Piojo will only continue to improve, as Herrera understands that different players need to get exposure, players need to continue to look at landing with clubs abroad and even trying out different formations. Fans across the world can finally feel confident with a team under Piojo’s control, because his only goal is to see the Mexico team evolve.
El Tri did fall in its last game of the 2014 year, but many fans and pundits understand that Piojo made major changes from El Tri’s triumph over Holland, 3-2. It may not have ended as fans wanted, but Herrera made those changes to see who is ready for the big stage, and what tactical changes are not going to work.
Yet, despite the loss against Belarus, Mexico walked away with positive vibes as the team gelled excellently against the Netherlands…and the return of Vela was nothing short of spectacular.
The win gives us a glimpse of what Mexico can be in the near future. The golden generation is growing, and with Herrera at the wheel, we may see one of the best Mexico teams in our lifetime heading up to Russia 2018.