It was a disappointing semifinal, and in turn, was a disappointing third place match for Mexico in the Confederations Cup. A golden generation had been building, but Juan Carlos Osorio and his team couldn’t do what they needed when it counted.
Mexico was three minutes from salvaging something in the Confederations Cup, yet, Pepe crushed that dream with a 91st minute goal to send the game to extra-time.
Portugal went up in extra-time after Miguel Layún was called for a handball. It looked like Mexico was down and out, but even in the dying moments, Héctor Moreno tried a header but was pushed from behind by Pepe. The referee decided to not call a penalty, even though the replays showed a foul. Even with the new VAR system, Mexico was ignored on their last hope for a penalty shootout.
Juan Carlos Osorio exploded on the sidelines and was sent off, and Mexico left Russia as the fourth best team in the tournament.
Mexico will now have to look at the Gold Cup to find something to be happy about in the summer of 2017. However, the Gold Cup is a secondary tournament. After two wins in exhibitions, Mexico does look poised as a team for the Gold Cup, so far. The result of the Gold Cup will most likely not affect Juan Carlos Osorio, if he is still with Mexico, simply due to the standings in the World Cup qualifiers.
As of now, Mexico looks like a good team, but not a great team. They lack the mental strength to beat the teams which gets you to the promised land. Juan Carlos Osorio’s team and strategies just aren’t cutting it when Mexico needs it the most.
The Future? How to improve Mexican football
In my opinion, El Tri needs to do these things in order to improve…
- Send more players to Europe, and do it fast
- Give younger players time in Liga MX
- Pick an XI, and have players who can plug in
- Stop rotating
- Discourage players from leaving Europe
Can they do this? I absolutely believe so. The question will be if they want to do it. We have seen some of these happen a little bit more, especially #1 and #2, but the growth of Mexican football depends on all these factors clicking together.