Why Miguel Herrera Is the Right Man to Lead Mexico at the World Cup

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2014

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 20:  Coach Miguel Herrera of Mexico applauds the crowd after the final whistle during leg 2 of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between the New Zealand All Whites and Mexico at Westpac Stadium on November 20, 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Miguel Herrera has been in charge of Mexico for four months, and he has already given the fans more satisfactions than those they had in 2013 during the World Cup qualifying process.

"El Piojo" has had to work under pressure and in a short period. His first challenge was the playoff against New Zealand, when El Tri had already hit rock bottom.

Instead of calling the same players that had lost faith and confidence at the Hexagonal, Herrera was practical and capped nine players from Club America, a team he managed for three years and with which he won the Liga MX title in the 2013 Clausura tournament.

He also turned his head to Club Leon, which has some key footballers like Carlos Pena and Luis Montes in the midfield and veteran centre-back Rafael Marquez.

The result, as expected, favored Mexico. The Kiwis could not keep up physically and technically and were left out of the World Cup.

Yes, the All Whites did not represent a big challenge for El Tri, but Herrera showed that he could come up with solutions.

He did not care of what people would say if almost half of his team was made up of Club America players, he understood the goal, and it was no other than taking home the last ticket for Brazil 2014.

As soon as he was officially appointed head coach, he told the press, "We have a huge commitment in front of us and we assume full responsibility of it, as I have already told you, there is no doubt that we will be in the World Cup."

"El Piojo" has brought some youngsters too, proving that he is well aware that age is just a number.

Isaac Brizuela is the clear example of it. The 23-year-old has proven to be a thriving force for the offensive. He plays as an attacking midfielder or as a forward with the same intensity and technique.

His long-distance shot, ball control and speed set him as one of Herrera's best decisions.

There is a reason why "El Piojo" has called Brizuela and other little-known footballers, like Jesus Escoboza, Miguel Herrera (not related) and Jose Juan Vazquez.

Mexican newspaper Reforma reported (h/t AM) that the coach not only follows the players in the local league games, he also uses Gol Stats, a software created by Mexican entrepreneur Andres Samano, that shows Herrera every single play of the Liga MX.

Regarding Gol Stats the coach said, "It helps you improve the performance of each of your players and help them reach their peak."

For the first time, it is clear why the manager is capping this or that footballer. The hierarchy or the personal preference will no longer be the only factor to make the team.

Herrera knows that Brazil 2014 will not be a piece of cake and so he has decided to put on the pitch those who will make the difference.

The preparation process will also be tough. Mexico is set to face Nigeria, United States, Ecuador, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Portugal.

Herrera stated earlier this year that those teams had more or less the same conditions of El Tri's World Cup rivals; clearly, he is thinking ahead.

People are hoping to see Rafael Marquez lifting the World Cup, which will probably not happen. But if "El Piojo" sticks to his plan of lining up only those who truly deserve it and continues to be a motivator, this team may perform and amaze the world like the 2005 Confederations Cup squad did.

Herrera has talent at arms' length, there's no doubt about that, the team is only missing a little push and it only comes with mentality, which "El Piojo" usually permeates in his teams.


Spanish sources cited in this article translated by the author unless otherwise noted.