After their third-place participation in the Nations League Cup, the Mexico Soccer Federation decided to part ways with newly appointed Diego Cocca. His tenure with Mexico lasted a whopping seven games. As head of Mexico’s men’s National Team, Cocca won three games, tied three games, and lost one.
Leading a national team can be excruciating, as a whole nation has its eyes on you. Being the head coach of Mexico’s national team comes with a hyper-focused magnifying glass that intensifies any flaw shown to the one-millionth power.
The people of Mexico expect unreachable goals, a feat that does not reflect the fact that they haven’t played a quarter-final match in a World Cup since 1986. The media, mostly made up of past players and coaches, want the head of the team to do unprecedented achievements. After Mexico lost 3-0 against their rivals, Team USA, in the Nation’s League Cup semi-final, Cocca became the scapegoat.
Team Mexico went on to beat Panama in the third-place match but showed no signs of improvement. Their style of play can only be described as abysmal. The passion and heart of the team’s past have been absent for years.
Fans demanded a Mexican coach for the national team, someone that knows what the crest means to a nation that loves soccer more than anything. The federation has not hired a Mexican coach since Miguel Herrera held the position from 2013-2015. The federation decided to give Jimmy Lozano a shot at the team. His previous work includes coaching the Olympic team that earned a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Jimmy Lozano became the interim coach a week before the Gold Cup began. During his first match, Lozano’s passion translated into the field as they beat a weak opponent in Honduras, 4-0. A small sample size does not show exactly what to expect from Lozano, but a victory that showed big improvements is a big step forward.
Here are three drastic changes Jimmy Lozano needs to implement to permanently keep the job and lead team Mexico into the 2026 World Cup.
3 Changes Jimmy Lozano Must Make for El Tri to Succeed
Henry Martin Needs To Come Off The Bench
Jimmy Lozano led Mexico’s Youth 23 team in the Olympics to a bronze medal with the help of Henry Martin. During the Olympics, a team is able to have support from three players over the cutoff age. Martin scored three goals, and his leadership helped pass the torch to the next generation, but his time has passed.
It’s time to hand over the center forward reins to the next generation. Jimmy Lozano needs to start developing Santi Gimenez as the next leading star of the national team. Gimenez has proven time after time he is playing at a high level in the Netherlands in the UEFA Europa League and their local cup scoring 15 goals in 32 appearances.
Henry’s mentorship will be helpful, but his time as the center forward needs to come to an end. It’s time to use his veteran’s skills off the bench and mentor the next generation.
Attack! Attack! Attack!
During their 3-0 loss in the Nations League Cup against Team USA, Mexico’s attack never found its rhythm. They played the whole game defending, never creating pressure on the opponent’s defense. Henry rarely touched the ball.
Cocca’s tactical approach was always defensively driven but never allowed its midfielders to attack. During the first minute of Lozano’s interim tenure, Mexico took a 1-0 lead within 51 seconds of the game. Leading up to the goal, Mexico had created multiple attacking buildups. The intensity was clear in comparison to Cocca’s approach.
With a 4-3-3 formation, and his previous work with the core players of this team, Lozano created an actual attacking plan that led to an overmatched score of 4-0. Honduras isn’t really the right opponent to measure the changes against, but beating a team like Honduras in a commanding manner is a step in the right direction.
Weight Of The Crest
Jimmy Lozano played for Mexico’s national team from 2000 to 2007. He participated in Mexico’s fourth-place Confederations Cup tournament. Lozano is very familiar with the amount of pressure the Mexican crest comes with. Lozano needs to find a way to make the players believe they can win.
“Imaginemos cosas chingona,” shouted Chicharito after beating Germany at the 2018 World Cup. “Believe!” can be the only translation for his shout. Lozano needs to implement this mentality into a youthful core that can become a top contender at the next World Cup. A World Cup that will be co-hosted by Mexico. Believing in themselves is the only way to block out the amount of pressure coming from every direction and the 3-0 result against the US.
Lozano’s first hurdle is overcoming their arch-rivals from up north and winning the Gold Cup.
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