Photo: Jose Manuel de la Torre
Jose Manuel de la Torre is out as head coach of Mexico’s national soccer team after the squad’s latest disappointing result, a 2-1 loss at home to Honduras in World Cup qualifying.
Mexico’s soccer federation said its president, Justino Compean, made the decision Saturday and immediately named De la Torre’s top assistant, Luis Fernando Tena, as his replacement.
The Mexican national squad was eliminated in the round-robin phase of the Confederations Cup, played this summer in Brazil; lost in the semifinals of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup to Panama; and stands in just fourth place in regional qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Only three CONCACAF teams qualify directly for soccer’s biggest competition, while the fourth-place country will have to win a home-away series against New Zealand to secure a berth in Brazil.
De la Torre’s squad seemed to have everything in its favor when it hosted Honduras Friday night at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, a match played in high altitude.
But after taking an early 1-0 lead, Mexico surrendered two second-half goals in the span of three minutes to suffer the bitterly disappointing loss.
In earlier home matches in the final round of regional qualifying for the World Cup, the Mexican squad had left its fans restless by playing to three scoreless draws.
De la Torre, who began coaching the national team in 2011, said after Friday night’s loss that he would not resign.
Tena’s resume includes leading an U-22 Mexican squad to the title in the 2011 Pan American Games and an U-23 team to the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, the biggest victory in the history of Mexican soccer.
But the new head coach does not have much time to lift the team’s level, as Mexico’s next World Cup qualifier is Tuesday against the United States in Columbus, Ohio.
Costa Rica leads the The Hex, as the six-team final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the World Cup is known, after a 3-1 rout Friday of the Americans, who dropped to second place.