Just when you think you have all the answers, the Mexican Football Federation changes the questions.
It looked like El Tri had their man when Victor Manuel Vucetich signed on to follow Jose Manuel de la Torre for Mexico's final two World Cup qualifiers. With his team on the brink of elimination, Vucetich was able to guide El Tri to fourth in qualification and a two-legged playoff against New Zealand for a spot in Brazil.
If you want to be a critic, you could argue that Mexico got extremely lucky, relying on Raul Jimenez's wonder goal and late goals by the United States to be able to get fourth place.
However, it's hard to make any drastic improvements on the squad with so little time. The fact is Vucetich got Mexico one step closer to the World Cup.
How was he rewarded? He was sacked and then replaced by Miguel Herrera, as per Goal.
Just when you think it can't get any more bizarre, it turns out that Herrera is simply being "loaned out" by Club America, where he's currently employed, as per Goal's Tom Marshall:
Miguel Herrera being "loaned" from Club America to the national team for the two games. Officially takes over on Sun. Couldn't make this up.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) October 18, 2013
He could be replaced once the playoff is over, according to Kyle McCarthy:
Herrera guaranteed just two matches in charge. FMF scheduled to convene another meeting to decide his future in December.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) October 18, 2013
So Mexico could hypothetically have three different managers in a span of four matches.
The FMF hasn't always been a beacon of smart decisions (i.e., hiring Sven-Goran Eriksson), but it has outdone itself by swapping out Vucetich for Herrera. There's almost no way you can look at this as an upgrade.
Herrera has one title to his name—the 2013 Clausura with America. Vucetich, meanwhile has won three Apertura titles—two with Monterrey and one with Pachuca. He's also got two CONCACAF Champions League titles to his name, both of which came with Monterrey.
Should they qualify, how far will Mexico go at the 2014 World Cup?
It would be one thing if El Tri had some sort of long-term plan in place and was building for the future. Ideally this would happen at the very beginning of a new World Cup cycle. You could give somebody like Herrera a few years to put his plans in place and figure out his best lineup. By the time the tournament comes around, Mexico would be a well-oiled machine.
That's a luxury the team isn't afforded at the moment.
Eight months might feel like a long time, but it's not in international football. They won't have a ton of fixtures with which they can work out all of their problems. In addition, the matches from which the manager will make his determinations are friendlies, where nothing is on the line.
These are reasons why you hardly ever see countries that have qualified or close to qualifying for the World Cup sacking their managers.
Mexico need a steady hand that will right the ship and get the players in line by the time June 2014 rolls around, assuming they beat New Zealand. That's not what Herrera will be.
On the bright side, he might be out after two matches. Everyone knows the easiest way you can forge stability with your football team is constantly switch managers, especially before the most pivotal matches.