After the debacle of missing the World Cup round of 16 for the first time in 44 years, Mexico said Thursday that Argentine coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino will not return for the next tournament.
Martino was hired in January 2019 and ended his contract after a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. He said after the game that he knew a contract extension with the Mexican Football Federation was unlikely.
“With a failure like this, it’s impossible for it to continue,” said Jaime Ordiales, Mexico’s director of national teams. “I know he’s a great worker, I’ve seen him every day, but we work for the national team and the best thing we can do right now is look the other way.”
Ordiales said the federation will speak with Martino and analyze the team’s situation before making any decision on a new coach.
Uruguayan coach Guillermo Almada, who just won the Mexican title with Pachuca, is a candidate for the position. Miguel “Piojo” Herrera, who coached Mexico at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is also in the mix.
Mexico usually signs its coaches until the last game of the World Cup. Years ago, after losing to Brazil in the round of 16, they offered an extension to Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who declined the offer.
“We recognize ‘Tata’ as a great coach, with a lot of capacity and a hard worker, but when you don’t get good results it’s impossible (to keep him),” said Ordiales.
Mexico arrived in the Middle East on a run of seven consecutive World Cups advancing to the round of 16. Martino’s experience with the Argentina and Paraguay national teams, as well as Barcelona, was expected to see him reach the quarterfinals.
Instead, Mexico finished third in Group C behind Argentina and Poland and was eliminated in the first round of a World Cup for the first time since the 1978 tournament in Argentina.