Juan Carlos Osorio, the man currently at the helm of the Mexican national soccer team, is the latest fútbol coach to realize how much pressure one must endure at the head of “El Tri.” The Colombian has had mixed results since his tenure began in late 2015, and recent disappointments at the FIFA Confederations Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup have led to increased scrutiny.
Barring an unexpected and historic collapse, Osorio has the Mexican team virtually qualified for the 2018 World Cup. Many would argue that was the job he was hired to do. Mexico fans clearly remember what happened before the 2014 World Cup: Mexico was minutes away from missing out on the World Cup, until a last-minute goal from the U.S. versus Panama — in their final qualifying match — allowed Mexico to enter a playoff and eventually book a ticket to Brazil.
CREDIT: Michael Regan – FIFA / Getty
However, Osorio has also frustrated peers, pundits and fans by employing a strategy in which he often rotates players. Osorio, a tactician, says it’s necessary not just for his game-to-game approach but for the health of his players. Critics say it leads to inconsistency on the field because the starting lineup is always in flux. Players say it gives them much-needed rest and a drive to compete for starting gigs.
When Mexico lost to Chile 0-7 at the Copa América Centenario last year, the historic scoreline instantly put a target on Osorio’s back. Despite the humiliating loss, Mexican soccer officials reiterated their support for Osorio and he was given time to work.
Now, after a one-sided loss to Germany at the Confederations Cup and a semi-final round elimination by Jamaica at the Gold Cup, patience for Osorio’s strategies has worn thin.
Journalist Tom Marshall posted this photo of angry fans shouting at Osorio after the loss to Jamaica.
— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) July 24, 2017
A video of Osorio’s arrival in Mexico also surfaced on social media, showing several fans yelling at Osorio. One fan chanted “Fuera Osorio” while another yelled, “Vete a tu país cabrón.”
"Vete a tu país cabrón". Los gritos con que recibieron a Juan Carlos Osorio en México. pic.twitter.com/qGRmw95Vex
— FutbolData ⚽ (@data_futbol) July 25, 2017
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer, took to social media to defend Osorio and reject the cynicism he feels from some Mexicans.
— Chicharito Hernandez (@CH14_) July 25, 2017
“I’m speechless after watching the video of Profe Osorio arriving in Mexico,” wrote Hernandez.
“It’s incredible. I’m speechless after watching the video of Profe Osorio’s arrival in Mexico. It made me embarrassed, angry, and even more, it made me very sad. I may regret what I’m going to say, but not even other coaches, who have behaved worse and have had similar results, have been received in that way.
Honestly, we have a lot to learn, we have a lot of things we need to improve because it’s not possible that a sport makes us act, react and behave the way it did on that occasion and others.
Cheer up Profe! They also wanted the all-time top scorer in Mexico out of the national team.
Cheer up Profe, they’ve also wanted the only player in history to win two Champions Leagues, who was captain of 3 World Cup squads, to be out of the national team.
Cheer up, because the greatest, and in my opinion, the best player in Mexican soccer history, Hugo Sánchez, they wanted him out of the national team during his playing days. They also fired him when Mexico didn’t qualify for the Olympics even when he wasn’t obligated to coach that team.
Cheer up Profe, because honestly in Mexico there are more of us who want to make the country better, who want to be better Mexicans, we want a better Mexico in all respects, and I know you want the same for our country even though you come from another one.”
The tweet, which has nearly 40k likes, included the hashtag #SomosMásLosBuenos.
Diego Reyes, one of Chicharito’s teammates on the national team, also defended Osorio.
Q tristeza ver este tipo de insultos! Q bajo hemos caído, si cada uno se exigiera como le exigimos a la selección México sería un mejor país https://t.co/peaKyWLW32
— Diego Reyes (@Diego_Reyes13) July 25, 2017
“How sad it is to see these types of insults. Look how far we’ve fallen, if everyone was as demanding about themselves as they are demanding with the Mexican national team, this would be a better country.”
Teammate Oribe Peralta also spoke out:
Preferible estar del lado del que critican a ser de esas almas tímidas que critican a los demás por temor a ser criticadas.
— Oribe Peralta (@OribePeralta) July 25, 2017
“It’s preferable to be on the side that is being criticized instead of being one of those timid souls who criticizes everyone else because they’re so afraid of being criticized.”
Despite the setbacks, it appears Osorio’s job is safe. Before the loss to Jamaica at the Gold Cup, Mexican Federation President Decio De Maria told ESPN they had confidence in Osorio: “We’re coming up to two years and we are increasingly convinced that he is the coach to lead this project and World Cup process.”
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