Mexico and a failure in every sense

GLENDALE-. With different actors on the field and on the bench, 18 months later, history repeated itself again for Mexico.

El Tri lost on Sunday with a goalless draw against Ecuador and once again bowed out after the first round of a major tournament.

At the last World Cup in Qatar 2022, with Argentine Gerardo Martino as coach, the Mexicans scored two goals in three games and were eliminated in the first round for the first time since Argentina 1978.

In the Copa América, with Jaime Lozano at the helm and with only 12 of the 26 players who were in that World Cup, the Mexican offense was once again ineffective and managed to score only one goal in three games to seal elimination.

“There were players who had not had any relevance that we gave prominence to and they did their job, but one of the objectives, which was to advance, was not met,” said Lozano. “The team won in other aspects, was better defensively, but we lacked forcefulness.”

Although the leaders supported Lozano’s decision to leave out five key players from the national team in recent years, the defeat increases the pressure on the coach due to the lack of results. Since taking over the post in May last year, Lozano has accumulated seven defeats in 21 matches.

“Whenever an objective is not met, it creates unrest and doubts, no matter who is here (on the bench),” said Lozano. “But the players believed in this until the end and that is not something easy to achieve, this unity and commitment. In the end, that decision is not up to me.”

The Mexican coach said that in the next few days he will prepare a report that he will deliver to commissioner Juan Carlos Rodríguez for evaluation.

The decision on whether he will continue to play does not lie entirely with the commissioner but with the owners of the 18 clubs in the first division who will meet on Wednesday and could make an early decision.

“The process is clear, we wanted to get ahead and show a leading role and today we have been left on the edge,” added Lozano. “We faced players of international stature, Ecuador is in fourth place in the CONMEBOL (qualifiers). They are a very strong team and they came because of the result they were given.”

The coach, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, replaced Argentine Diego Cocca as interim coach, who was sacked after seven games and after winning the Gold Cup, supported by the players, secured the permanent job.

“We are sad because we thought we could have done better,” said defender Yohan Vázquez, who became a starter after Lozano’s arrival. “I don’t believe in throwing in the towel, I want revenge and I want to keep trying. We have to see what we can learn from this painful defeat.”

In addition to the five absences due to the coach’s decision, Lozano had to suffer from the injuries of goalkeeper Luis Malagón and midfielder Edson Álvarez, two players considered to be starters.

“I am reassured by the way we have fought, the way we have struggled. We have nothing to spare, but we are not lacking anything,” added Lozano. “We have to be convinced that this is the way forward. I see reasons to believe that this team can fight against any team.”

The Copa America was seen as Mexico’s last big test before the 2026 World Cup, which it will host alongside the United States and Canada. It will have another Gold Cup in 2025 and many friendlies, either with Lozano or his replacement.

“We hope to turn things around, we hope for another tournament to put our face forward and move forward,” said defender Jorge Sánchez. “I’m putting my face forward for my teammates, we have to put Mexico on the right path as soon as possible.”