Mexico will face Venezuela tonight, June 24th, in an international friendly but despite the outcome, Mexico will be surpassed by Costa Rica as 2nd from CONCACAF and could very well  see it’s worst FIFA ranking in history.

According to the writers at Football-Rankings.info, if Mexico loses against Venezuela, they would end the month with 768 points and with a ranking of 35th. Mexico previously bottomed out at 32nd in August of 2008. If Mexico wins against Venezuela, it is likely to end the month with 793 points, giving it a ranking of 31st.

So how will the top five CONCACAF teams fare in a “worst case scenario”* according to the July 2009 data at Football-Rankings?

* (If USA wins against Spain today, and Mexico against Venezuela, their rankings could still improve)

Rank | Team | Points | +/- Ranking | +/- Points

16 | USA | 885 | -2 | -62
30 | Costa Rica | 801 | +11 | +107
35 | Mexico | 768 | -9 | -54
37 | Honduras | 758 | -2 | -3
65 | Jamaica | 520 | 11 | 64

Best case scenario could having USA replacing Croatia as 10th in the world and Mexico replacing Gabon as 31st.

For an in-depth preview of July 2009’s FIFA rankings, I encourage everyone to visit Football-Rankings.info.

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South Africa will host the World Cup in ten venues located in nine cities.
Capacity ranges from 42,000 to an expected 95,000.

If Mexico were to host it in 2018, the following would be in place:

  • Estadio Azteca – 105,000 – Mexico City
  • Estadio Jalisco – 68,000 – Guadalajara, Jalisco
  • Estadio Olimpico Universitario – 63,000 – Mexico City
  • Estadio Universitario “El Volcan” – 51,000 – Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
  • Estadio Leon – 50,000 – Leon, Guanajuato
  • Estadio Zapote – 50,000 – Tampico, Tamaulipas
  • Estadio Cuauhtemoc – 47,000 – Puebla, Puebla
  • Estadio Chivas – 45,500 – Guadalajara, Jalisco
  • Estadio Morelos – 42,000 – Morelia, Michoacan
  • Estadio La Corregidora – 41,000 – Queretaro, Mexico
  • Estadio Azul – 40,000 – Mexico City

The following are proposed but are disputed:

  • Estadio Internacional Monterrey – 75,000 – Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
  • Estadio Monterrey – 50,000 – Monterrey, Nuevo Leon

* Estadio Internacional Monterrey proposes that it be a stadium shared by Monterrey’s two professional teams. However, Monterrey have stated they would rather have their own venue and thus Estadio Monterrey is likely to prevail over the Internacional.

By 2018 or 2022, I am sure that we would see a number of new or expanded venues.

For a geographical idea:

Average high temperatures in July for the “host” cities I mentioned above:
Monterrey – 94
Tampico – 88
Guadalajara – 79
Leon – 79
Morelia – 78
Queretaro – 78
Mexico City – 74
Puebla – 74

Mexico sacks Sven

April 2, 2009

Mexico‘s football federation announced today that Sven-Goran Eriksson has been released from his duty as the senior national team manager.

The announcement follows a disappointing 3-1 loss to Honduras in World Cup qualifying action. Despite not having won in Honduras since 1993, there was much pressure for a victory as a result of Mexico’s inability to win on the road while under the command of Eriksson. In his ten month tenure, Sven managed six defeats in eleven matches and only one victory in it’s last seven encounters.

Prior to the match against Costa Rica on March 28, 2009, Eriksson cited his knowledge of the mood and sentiment amongst the football federation. He was quoted as saying, “I know perfectly well that it is not possible for me to lose…we must win or life will be very difficult for me. I will probably be out of work.”

Mexico’s football federation president, Justino Compean, states that “we had to take action because we could not take further risks regarding out World Cup qualification; we can not simply depend upon the results of playing at home.”

Eriksson’s overall record with the Mexican side included six victories, six defeats, and one draw. Of the thirteen matches played, nine were World Cup qualifiers and four friendlies.

Sven's record with Mexico

Sven's record with Mexico

Sven is still being touted as potential Portsmouth manager and despite his lack of success with the Mexican squad, he is sure to have plenty of opportunities to prove himself – albeit elsewhere.

Best of luck to him, but most of all, best of luck to the Mexican side .

Mexico defeated Costa Rica 2-0 at Estadio Azteca on March 28, 2009.

The  goal scorers include Omar Bravo and Pavel Pardo (penalty).

First half summary (be sure to watch in “High Quality”):

Second half:

Mexico will next face Honduras on Wednesday, April 1, 2009. The match will be played in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The Mexican national team has already flown to Honduras in preparation of their match in San Pedro Sula, but Giovani dos Santos, Edgar Castillo, and veteran Ricardo Osorio will be watching the match from home.

Mexico’s soccer federation, known as FEMEXFUT, is reporting that Giovani dos Santos will miss the match due to an injury he suffered while playing for his club Ipswich Town. The injury to his groin muscle has not completely healed and despite vast improvements in his health, the he has failed to heal 100%. To prevent further injury, Sven Goran-Eriksson concluded that it would be best for Giovani to take the opportunity to return to England and work on his recovery.

Edgar Castillo is forced to miss the match against Honduras due to his misplacement of his travel documents. He has been unable to locate his passport and is unable to submit the necessary paperwork to have a new passport issued in time.

Ricardo Osorio came down with flu-like symptoms Sunday night and will stay in Mexico while he recovers from his unexpected illness. Sven-Goran Eriksson has stated that no new players will be called into the squad as a result of the team having plenty of depth already available. Both Carlos Salcido and Jonny Magallon are eligible to play during Wednesday’s match and will likely see minutes.

ESPN is reporting that Mexico cruised to an easy finish over Honduras this past weekend despite the fact that Mexico faced Costa Rica. It looks as though much was overlooked in a hasty attempt to have an article published.

The ESPN article, which provides no author’s name, states:

“Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is calling on his team for a repeat performance when they seek their first away win of the World Cup qualifying campaign against Costa Rica on Wednesday…Mexico cruised to a 2-0 victory over Honduras last night at the Estadio Azteca…”

It’s bad enough that the mistake was not caught but the article even properly quotes Sven-Goran Eriksson‘s remarks regarding Giovani dos Santos‘ prospects of seeing minutes against Honduras as well as his decision to have  Guillermo Ochoa in the net against Honduras.  ESPN writes, “Ochoa is very likely to start the Honduras match, too. I don’t need to change after Memo did everything perfectly.”

Quality reporting ESPN.

For an opportunity to read the article before it is either revised or taken down altogether, head over to:
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=632294&sec=worldcup2010&cc=5901

Sven-Goran Eriksson has called up the following players for next week’s friendly against Bolivia.

Keepers
Guillermo Ochoa – America
José de Jesús Corona – Tecos

Defense
Óscar Rojas – America
Paul Aguilar – Pachuca
Leobardo López – Pachuca
Juan Carlos Valenzuela – America
Julio César Domínguez – Cruz Azul
Hugo Ayala – Atlas
Edgar Castillo – America
Fausto Pinto – Pachuca

Midfield
Israel Martínez – San Luis
Fernando Arce – Santos
Gerardo Torrado – Cruz Azul
Leandro Augusto – Pumas
Pável Pardo – America
Luis Pérez – Monterrey
Antonio Naelson ‘Sinha’ – Toluca

Forwards
José Antonio Cárdenas – Pachuca
César Villaluz – Cruz Azul
Omar Bravo – Tigres
Vicente Matías Vuoso – Santos
Sergio Santana – Toluca

The squad is comprised of the following teams:

América – 5
Cruz Azul – 4
Pachuca – 3
Santos – 2
Toluca – 2
Tecos – 1
Atlas – 1
San Luis – 1
Pumas – 1
Monterrey – 1
Tigres – 1

The US celebrates a goal against Mexico.

The February 11th, 2009 match against the United States was a continuation of Mexico’s performances during the past twelve months. The hard truth is that the squad has been a tad bit dysfunctional and out of form as of late. Mexico was less than impressive during the previous qualification round, and if it had it not been for Canada’s shoddy defense or Jamaica’s inability to score, it’s doubtful that Mexico would have made it into the current Hex. The 2-0 loss against the US should not be so shocking to Mexican fans – not because of recent history against the US – but because Mexico has failed to make crucial changes where they have been needed most. These points of discussion were present against Jamaica, Canada, and Honduras and they were even more evident against the US this past month .

So what are Mexico’s continuing plagues?

Mexico’s central midfield is in serious need of a rejuvenation.

Pavel Pardo is a great player but he is quickly aging and losing the form he once had. He can connect his passes and put up good free kicks, but his legs are no longer as fast as they once were. His greatest trait is that he is a great team leader. Rafael Marquez often gets the badge because he’s critical in organizing the back line, but Pavel is often the one organizing the offense. Pavel’s return to Mexican club football amidst a great season with Stuttgart has been overshadowed by a shaky start with Club America.

Leandro Augusto is a great club player, but he has failed to impress at the national level. He typically has great accuracy in his passes and is a great marker, but it seemed as though only 10-20% of his passes connected against the US. He simply seemed lost on the pitch. Both he and Pavel Pardo are in their 30’s and though they will hardly be ‘too old’ to miss out on 2010, Mexico will need to start transitioning young guys into the fold.

The younger Gerardo Torrado was forced to miss out on the match due to suspensions, but he too has been plagued by a recent stint of bad form and performances not just at the club level but on the national stage as well.

Mexico’s forwards are having a confidence crisis.

It has been clear for a while that Carlos Ochoa and Matias Vuoso have had favorable assessments from Sven-Goran Eriksson but they have shown little to the general public in the way of being the answers to their prayers. Carlos Ochoa was called up for the national team selection during the 2002 World Cup qualifiers under the direction of Javier Aguirre, but after several dissappointing performances he fell out of favor and missed out during the World Cup stage. These two forwards add much to their respective clubs but their talents and traits have yet to carry over well at the national level.

While many fans (and foes) were undoubtedly happy to see Jared Borgetti‘s reign at the national level end, it is becoming abundantly clear that Mexico dooes not have a central forward of his caliber. He was never the greatest player to suit up for El Tri but he, at the least, consistent and dependable with 46 goals in 89 caps. The bright side is that Mexico holds promising, if only budding, talent in likes of Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos, Nery Castillo, and Omar Arrellano.

Whom to keep as the keeper?

As far as Mexico’s keepers go, previous entries will show you my personal sentiment regarding Oswaldo Sanchez: he must go. His time is over. He served Mexico well but the feeling shared by many fans is that he is no longer welcome.

For a re-cap of my thoughts on Mexico’s depth at the goalkeeping position, I encourage everyone to read my entry from January 12, 2009.

Jose de Jesus Corona has been a decent keeper for quite some time and though he has been called on for the national team since 2005, he has yet to be given real time on the pitch. He currently plays for Tecos of Mexico’s Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, who have recently been heavy favorites for regulation from Mexico’s top flight division. He has not been the most consistent keeper for some time now and this fact has only further pushed him away from the starting line-up. Some will argue that if there ever was a time for him to land the starting role, his best chance would have been during the 2006 World Cup process.  Oswaldo Sanchez, perhaps rightfully so, overshadowed him then as he does now. Fortunately for Corona, the season has started well for him and his club. In the five matches he has played in, he has only allowed three goals, allowing his team to start the season with a 3-1-1 record.

Luis Ernesto Michel has been one of the more consistent keepers in Mexico for some time now but he too has failed to prove to his coaches (including LaVolpe, Hugo, and Sven) that he is the replacement Mexico is in need of. He has also been plagued by injuries recently and this has only worked to add more distance between himself and the starting role.  Unfortunately he might experience what other keepers did during the era of Jorge Campos where the name and fan appeal of one keeper – in this case Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa – might win over actual substance. But one can also look at it from a statistical point of view and argue differently:

Memo Ochoa: 157 games with Club America’s senior squad, 16 starts with the senior national team, 6 starts with the sub-23. Clausura 2005 Champion.

Michel: 73 games with Santos and Guadalajara’s senior squads, 0 starts with any of the national teams.

One of the biggest criticisms against Memo is that he still makes a lot of rookie mistakes. When he was younger and being hyped by the press, they said he was not starting material because he was a rookie making rookie mistakes. Today he is a bit older and more experienced but people are still saying that he is making the same rookie mistakes as before.

The following are just personal assessments and those of you with more keeping experience may disagree with my comments, but to serve as examples:

0:40 Deemed an ‘easy’ save by many.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_YGsb1OK8Y

0:50 He fails to close down the space, pressure the rushing forward. He simply stands there, awkwardly, for a second or two.
1:19 He fails to come out and sticks to his line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVp75y3JQ1I

Note: The video referenced are from Mexico’s qualification bid during the 2008 CONCACAF Pre-Olympic tournament.

Sven-Goran Eriksson:

Since taking over the Mexican national football team, Sven-Goran Eriksson has managed the team to four victories, one loss, and three draws. While the situation could be much better, at least it’s not any worse than it could be. Now that the third round of the 2010 CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers is behind us, let us analyze Sven’s progress with the team over the past few months.

Depth Chart:

Before one can properly criticize or analyze Sven’s selection of players, it’s best to establish a depth chart to review his recent selections:

Goalkeepers
Oswaldo Sánchez – Santos Laguna
Guillermo Ochoa – América
José de Jesús Corona – Tecos U.A.G.
Moisés Muñoz – Morelia
Jonathan Orozco – Monterrey
Luis Ernesto Michel – Guadalajara

Right Backs
Ricardo Osorio – VfB Stuttgart
Diego Martínez – Tigres U.A.N.L.
Israel Castro – U.N.A.M.
Mario Méndez – Toluca
Óscar Rojas – América

Center Backs
Rafael Márquez – Barcelona
Jonny Magallón – Guadalajara
Aarón Galindo – Eintracht Frankfurt (*Guadalajara)
Héctor Moreno – AZ Alkmaar
Édgar Dueñas – Toluca
Leobardo López – Pachuca
Francisco Javier Rodríguez – PSV Eindhoven
Juan Carlos Valenzuela – Tecos U.A.G.

Left Backs
Carlos Salcido – PSV Eindhoven
Fausto Pinto – Pachuca
Édgar Castillo – América
Jorge Torres Nilo – Atlas

Right Wingers
Fernando Arce – Santos Laguna
Carlos Esquivel – Toluca

Center Defensive Midfielders
Pavel Pardo – VfB Stuttgart (*América)
Gerardo Torrado – Cruz Azul
Leandro Augusto – U.N.A.M.
Jaime Correa – Pachuca

Center Attacking Midfielders
Giovani dos Santos – Tottenham
Sinha – Toluca
Francisco Torres – Santos Laguna
Luis Ernesto Pérez – Monterrey

Left Wingers
Andrés Guardado – Deportivo La Coruña
William Paredes – Monterrey

Strikers
Carlos Vela – Arsenal
Vicente Matías Vuoso – Santos Laguna
Omar Bravo – Deportivo La Coruña
Omar Arellano – Guadalajara
Guillermo Franco – Villarreal
Carlos Ochoa – Monterrey
Francisco Fonseca – Tigres U.A.N.L.
Nery Castillo – Manchester City
Arnhold Rivas – Tecos U.A.G.
Enrique Esqueda – América

* Denotes recent winter transfers

General Assessment:

While many praises can be lauded left and right, the truth of the matter is that the FMF player pool has been lacking in recent years. It seems as though the days of entertaining, fast-paced football are over, and instead, we now have a slower paced game that is less technical, more sloppy, and less creative. With this mind, it’s no surprise that the Mexican league based players have been unable to produce much of what is expected from them.

Goalkeeping:

Ochoa, Sanchez, Michel, and Orozco all stand at about 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in ), Muñoz tops the list at 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in), and Corona bottoms at 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in). Since we’re not comparing these keepers to say, for example, Jorge Campos who stood 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in), we can’t make height into a key criterion. Oswaldo currently holds the most caps from the group, and at 35 years of age, the most experience as well. However, Memo has shown to have impressive reach, dive, and positioning [the latter of which Oswaldo lacks], and both Corona and Michel have shown great judgment and anticipation, while also proving to be impressive during penalty shots.

So even though Oswaldo Sanchez undoubtedly has the most experience in this position, at this point his prime is now in the past and at 35-years of age, he is hardly a top choice for the 2010 World Cup [providing Mexico advance]. This coupled with the fact that he has underperformed in recent matches lead me to believe that his role with the team should be critically reduced.

Ochoa, Corona, and Michel are all viable candidates for the position yet their presence has been severely overshadowed by Oswaldo Sanchez. Whereas Sanchez typically resorts to shouting and yelling at his teammates, Memo’s calm and cool approach appears at times to translate well with the rest of the squad. If Sanchez is to be kept on the squad, he deserves to only be third or fourth on the pecking order.

On Sven-Göran Eriksson:Sven-Goran Eriksson

It’s the dawn of a new era and Sven-Goran Eriksson is here to greet us.

Well not quite yet, but pretty soon he’s expected to greet us as the new manager (in it’s full capacity) of the Mexican national football team. So what can we look forward to with Eriksson at the helm?

A fully loaded squad:

At the moment, there are absolutely no friendlies scheduled for the Mexican squad prior to the World Cup Qualifier against Honduras that is scheduled for 20 August, 2008. With that in mind, Eriksson will have at his disposal the full list of European based players that have donned the national jersey including:

Antonio di Nigris (Ankaraspor), Carlos Salcido and Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez (PSV Eindhoven), Héctor Moreno (AZ Alkmaar) Ricardo Osorio and Pavel Pardo (both at VfB Stuttgart), Aaron Galindo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Rafael Márquez (Barcelona), Andres Guardado and Omar Bravo (Deportivo de La Coruña), Guillermo Franco (Villareal), Nery Castillo (Manchester City), Giovani dos Santos (Tottenham), and Carlos Vela (Arsenal).

In addition to the European based players, domestic players such as Guillermo Ochoa, Jonny Magallón, Gerardo Torrado, Óscar Rojas, Fernando Arce, Antonio “Zinha” Naelson, Jared Borgetti, Israel Castro will also be seen as the strongest and most likely contenders for a spot on the squad.


Andres Guardado compilation

A new approach to competition:

It may not seem like much at first, but Sven’s approach seems to be that of controlling and focusing the present while also keeping notes and tabs regarding the future. He says that one must think in grander terms, that one should take advantage of the situation and look ahead. Rather than waiting to see if Mexico qualifies before taking any action, one must get the upper hand and think in terms as if Mexico were already qualified. With this mind, he has sent Guillermo Cantu and Fernando Cerrilla to South Africa in order to scout locations for the Mexican squad. Locations in terms of hotels, training facilities, and practice fields.

The Future of Chucho Ramirez:

It is being reported that Chucho Ramirez has rejected an offer to be a member of Eriksson’s coaching staff, citing instead, that he believes his role as manager of the youth squads to be his calling at the present time. His main objective will be the formation and preparation, specifically, of the under-17 squad as it prepares for the 2011 under-17 World Cup and the under-20 squad as it start making its way toward the 2009 under-20 World Cup.

For now, Chucho has flown to Spain in order to join the Mexico under-15 national squad as it competes at the “Santa Orosia 2008” football tournament.

The following two groups make up the competition at the tournament:

Group A: Jacetano CF, Laredo de Cantabria; Adepo Palomeras de Madrid, SD Gernika, La Floresta de Tarragona

Group B: Mexico under-15 National Squad, Girona FC, Romo FC, La Salle Mallorca, CD Valdefierros

Today was the first day of tournament action and the Mexican squad found much to celebrate as it gained two victories:

Mexico 3 – 0 Girona de Cataluña

Mexico 11 – 0 C.D. Valdefierro

The squad will play two additional matches tomorrow, the 28 of June:

08:45 Mexico vs. Romo F.C.

17:15 Mexico vs. 2nd Place from Group B

While it had been reported earlier that a club team in Saudi Arabia had expressed interest in Chucho Ramirez, it doesn’t look likely that he’ll be heading out any time soon. He’s a trusted and beloved coach by the youth squads, and what better way to secure his job as the future senior manager? He’s bound to come back sometime. (Thankfully his time isn’t now).

And what’s left to say about Hugo?

Well there’s plenty to say about Hugo, but why bother rehashing the troubled past?

While evidently he wasn’t the greatest tactician or strategist, at least we can say that he was able to select players when their time was right. His biggest achievements include bringing Nery Castillo to the Mexican squad, incorporating Israel Castro (arguably the better right-back defender), giving Aaron Galindo another opportunity, and finally, giving Fernando Arce the shot he deserved.

For this, we can thank Hugo.


Nery Castillo – Mexico vs. Brazil – Copa America 2007 – Arabic Lesson of the Day

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