Three years after the first Honduran victory against Mexico at Estadio Azteca (1-2), Mexico took a point from one of the more difficult trips in CONCACAF, this time after a goalless draw that allowed both Mexico and Honduras to qualify to the last stage of World Cup Qualifying.
Mexico and Honduras joined Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and United States for the Hexagonal (fifth round). While the Catrachos were celebrating, the Mexicans were criticizing the performance of their national team. The press has been particularly tough on Juan Carlos Osorio.
It seems the press haven’t got over the painful defeat against Chile in the quarterfinal of the Copa America Centenario (0-7). In fact most of the media was still talking about it before the Honduras game, during the broadcast, and after it finished. Since last week many have been questioning whether Osorio will continue in charge at Russia 2018.
Continuity has been a problem for Mexico’s national team since 2006, when Ricardo La Volpe qualified ‘El Tri’ without much issue. We have seen an array of managers in the last ten years (7), including Hugo Sánchez, Sven-Göran Eriksson, José Manuel de la Torre and Miguel Herrera.
The press has harshly criticised this “model”. Nevertheless when Osorio first took control, Mexico went 11 games without a loss (10 wins and 1 draw; scoring 21 goals and only conceding 2), a historical streak before falling to Chile. Then the team struggled against El Salvador (won 1-2) and Honduras (tied 0-0), and several journalists asked him if he was going to lose his position after hearing chants of “Osorio out”. He firmly rebuffed that idea and pointed out that despite the performance, under his management, Mexico qualified for the World Cup Qualifying stage (Hexagonal) by winning its group (16 out of 18 points and scoring 13 times and conceding only 1 goal).
Opinion in the country is divided, but this is the moment to back Osorio, the Mexican Federation should respect the process and the manager. The fifth and last round to Russia 2018 in CONCACAF will start on November, and we will see what happen when Mexico faces its main rival (United States) in Columbus, Ohio.