By. Mauricio Ponce
Despite a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia, El Tri crashed out of the World Cup Group stages accumulating 4 points with a goal difference of 2:3. This is a disappointing result for Mexico, as they have reached the R16 of the World Cup in its last 7 editions. As a Mexico supporter, I am of course disappointed but not surprised. The current state of Mexican Football is reaching a dangerously low point, and with Mexico set to co-host The 2026 World Cup alongside Canada and The United States, fans wonder what can be done to steady a sinking ship.
Mexico’s World Cup journey was far from inspiring. Playing a 0-0 draw against Poland, a game which Mexico could have lost, but were saved by the heroics of Guillermo Ochoa. Their second game against Argentina was a pitiful showing, changing shape to a 3-5-2 and defending and holding for a draw for the majority of the game.
In the final game of the group, Mexico finally woke up and took the game to Saudi Arabia, with a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute. However, they failed to score 1 more goal and Saudi Arabia countered and scored, ending El Tri’s R16 hopes. This will be a tournament to forget for Mexico, with one of the poorest showings from the national team in a long time. Mexico ended a 5 game World Cup scoreless drought in the FINAL group stage game, highlighting an already woeful experience.
While the players can’t escape some blame for the performances, The manager should and will be held accountable for most of this horrendous World Cup. Tata Martino lost the dressing room before the world cup and that lack of chemistry and team understanding was visible.
Martino also alienated Javier Hernandez from the squad, who is Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer. Considering we failed to hit the net until the 3rd game, his eye for goals and international experience could have proved useful. Martino also made some head-scratching selections for this World Cup squad, leaving Mexico’s best young player Santiago Gimenez off the roster.
The first 2 games showed how tactically inept Martino is, and set the tone for this tournament. The Argentina game was a tactical horror show from Martino, opting for a 3-5-2 and a defensive approach holding out for a draw, only to sit out your best holding midfielder and to lose 2-0.
It's no secret that the USMNT is going through a golden generation, with an average squad age of around 24 years, They have an abundance of young stars budding into the first XI and more depth on the bench. Whereas Mexico Fielded the 2nd oldest squad in the tournament, with an average age of 28.9 years old. Tata Martino did not select one player under 23. This lack of trust in young players is why Mexico is now being passed by the likes of Canada and The United States, who are bringing in and trusting young talent and now it's paying off. Mexico is on a slippery slope and their old guard who we have relied on for so long are not going to be playing in the next World Cup.