Soccer: Desperate Mexico send coaches toppling

Miguel Herrera
Miguel Herrera

Usually, the sacking of an opposition manager means potential difficulty for a team like New Zealand's All Whites trying to beat Mexico to qualify for next year's World Cup.

The naming of a new boss usually means a failing team pulls together; often becoming more combative and coherent. But this is Mexico - where football officials have named their fourth coach in six weeks to save their dismal World Cup qualifying campaign.

Miguel Herrera has been named to coach the side in their last-chance play-off against New Zealand. The Club America boss replaced Victor Manuel Vucetich, who was sacked two days after the team lost 2-1 to Costa Rica, nearly killing their hopes of going to Brazil.

Herrera, 44, coached America to their 11th title this year. The club, one of the most popular in Mexico, currently sit in first place in the championship. But he inherits a team who have under-achieved despite a handful of European-based talents like Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez and Villareal playmaker Giovani dos Santos.

Mexico have not missed the World Cup since 1990 and there were high hopes after they won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. But Mexico only won two of their 10 games in the final phase of the North and Central America and Caribbean zone, scoring just seven goals while watching the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras qualify for the World Cup.

Jose Manuel de la Torre was fired last month after the team's embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Honduras in Mexico City's Azteca stadium, only their second home loss ever in a World Cup qualifier. The next man in charge was his assistant, Luis Fernando Tena, who was let go after one game, a 2-0 defeat to the United States. Vucetich was hired on September 12 but he only had two games to turn things around, resulting in a 2-1 victory against Panama at home followed by the defeat in San Jose.

Mexico will host the first game on November 13 before heading to New Zealand for the second leg on November 20.

- AFP/AAP

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