Today’s Mexico vs. Brazil Confederations Cup match, was a convincing win from a superior Brazilian side, but for El Tri, it’s much more than another lost match — it more importantly means that this might be Chepo’s last tournament coaching El Tri. De la Torre has been on the hot seat coming into this Confederations Cup and now, with another uninspired 0-2 loss against Brazil, his future does not look bright at all. Also, taking into consideration how the Mexican Federation is quick to sack coaches not performing up to par; indeed, we are witnessing the last days of De la Torres’ tenure at Mexico.
This Mexico vs Brazil game highlighted many faults from Mexico, once again; however, it was Neymar that proved to be the difference not only on one occasion with a goal, but also with a beautifully crafted assist to Jo as well. Brazil’s back-line, more specifically David Luiz, was rock solid and did not allow any crosses in, nor did he nor his compatriots allow for any runs to be made in the final third of their half. And as Mexico pressed forward in the dying minutes, Brazil’s defense held strong and did not allow for any gaps to be taken advantage of from Mexico’s players. Make no mistake, Neymar’s performance inspired Brazil to victory and is very keen on finally making an impression to the world in anticipation for next years World Cup, as well as his arrival to the Camp Nou next season. For Mexico, however, this means two consecutive loses — they have not lost twice in succession since the 2010 World Cup.
Mexico can’t find a starting eleven
Tactically, Brazil did not make any changes, but Mexico, more specifically De la Torre, made changes around the park. The promising change was the start of Mier at the right back position as well as Nilo Torres’ inclusion at left back. Because Torres started at left back, Salcido was then selected to play along side Torrado and this is where, once again, De la Torre has gotten it wrong again. It may have been promising for many fans to see the inclusion of Torres and Mier, but it is ‘Chepo’s’ frequent changes to Mexico’s formation and starting eleven that do not allow for the team’s chemistry to grow.
For example, take Felipe Scolari’s Brazil squad and notice how his starting eleven these past games have been consistent. He works with his starting eleven during training sessions, places his trust in them, and more importantly, he sticks to the inclusion of these same players throughout every match this year. While Brazil have not fired on all cylinders yet, they’re getting there. It’s easy to see the progress being made with Scolari’s team when, such as today, their players are gaining more of an understanding with each other.
So, many are asking, what is De la Torres’ starting eleven? It should not be here, at the Confederations Cup, where he is barely figuring out his best eleven. Moreover, that may explain the lackluster performances from each and every single player from Mexico these past six months — the lack of a definitive starting eleven. And while it not might be ‘Chepo’s’ fault completely, he holds the position as manager and must take responsibility for the recent slump in performances.
Ineffective Offense: Not just Chepo’s fault
However, this is where the players must take fault for the ‘tricolor’s’ recent performances as well. As a whole, they have been failing at playing attractive soccer, or effective soccer in general. For example, too many times throughout the Mexico vs Brazil game, Mexico’s players lacked simple judgement and would waste possession by failing to make a pass. Not only that, but they have been lacking two very important things: patience and penetration.
Too often, Mexico has been misplacing simple passes all over the park consistently. Patience is what should be stressed from De la Torre and his coaching staff to the players. Take for example Vicente Del Bosque’s (Spain’s) style of play, which is revolved around the midfield, possession, and patience from each and every player. Mexico must adapt to a possession style of play but they also must add a sense of urgency with this style.
Finally, Mexico are missing the penetration that their midfield and forwards must inflict against their opponents. Instead, we have witnessed Mexico’s attacking being consistently one-dimensional. More specifically, they have been lacking the precision, in terms of passing at the final third, that most teams in this Confederations Cup possess. For example, in today’s match versus Brazil, the reason why many passes were not successful was due to the lack of movement from players such as Chicharito, Guardado, Salcido and Flores. Players need to be rotating positions and making runs at the final third of the pitch in order for opportunities to arise; otherwise, Mexico will continue to be predictable and flatfooted in their penetration going forward.
With one game to play in this Confederations Cup, against Japan, and with Italy beating Japan 4-3; Mexico are now eliminated from this year’s tournament. Many had high hopes that Mexico could use this years Confederations Cup to get out of an early slump from recent World Cup qualifying performances, and with one game to play, El Tri look very lost. Will De la Torre use this last game to utilize his bench players? Or, will he continue to rotate the same players he’s used in his starting eleven? Either way, it seems as ‘Chepo’s’ time at Mexico will come to a disappointing end after many consecutive and uninspired performances from his players.