Mexico’s Early Exit Sparks Concern for Football’s Future

Mexico’s early exit from the 2023 Copa América has left football fans and experts alike questioning the state of the national team’s development. The team’s lackluster performance, which saw them eliminated from the tournament without reaching the knockout rounds, has raised concerns about the direction of Mexican football.

The 0-0 draw against Ecuador on Sunday marked the end of Mexico’s campaign, following a 1-0 defeat to Venezuela and a narrow 1-0 victory over Jamaica. This disappointing result echoes their early elimination from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, fueling worries that the country’s football program may be in a state of decline.

Jaime Lozano’s Tactics and Selections Under Scrutiny

Jaime Lozano, Mexico’s young and relatively inexperienced coach, has come under scrutiny for his tactical approach and team selections. Former Mexico coach Ricardo La Volpe had previously warned that Lozano would face problems if he did not adopt new strategies, and his inability to adapt has been a topic of criticism.

Lozano’s decisions to leave out several veteran players, such as Guillermo Ochoa, Hirving Lozano, Henry Martín, Jesús Gallardo, and Raúl Jiménez, in favor of younger talents have also been questioned. While the plan to prioritize youth was intended to signal a new era for El Tri, the lack of experience and cohesion in the squad proved to be a significant drawback.

Systemic Issues Plaguing Mexican Football

The systemic issues plaguing Mexican football extend beyond the national team. The insularity of the domestic league, Liga MX, has been a longstanding concern, with young players rarely leaving the country to compete in Europe’s top leagues. The lack of promotion and relegation in the league since 2018 has also been cited as contributing to a lack of competitive drive.

Moreover, Mexico’s decision to withdraw from the Copa Libertadores in 2016 and the Copa América in recent years has further limited the team’s exposure to top-level continental competition. This self-imposed isolation has been a detriment to the national team’s development, as they have missed out on the opportunity to challenge themselves against the best teams in South America.

Preparations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup

As Mexico looks towards hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the team’s early exit from the Copa América has cast a shadow over their preparations. Coach Jaime Lozano remains hopeful that the latest generation of players can signal a new era for El Tri, but the results and performances suggest a significant rebuilding effort may be required.

“Football enthusiasts and pundits will be closely watching the progress of the Mexican national team in the coming years, as they seek to regain their footing on the continental and global stages.”

🔗 Source