Mexico will finish 2022 with one of the worst feelings after a horrid year in terms of results. Mexico had one of the most disastrous years in their footballing history, from losing out on Olympics, World Cups (U20 and Senior Women), and concluding with the end of the streak of consecutive qualifications to the Round of 16 in the Men’s World Cup. As Mexico looks to improve, things don’t look good and the incredible news that FMF President Yon de Luisa is set to continue, brings even less positivity to the outlook.
The year started with good news although it was not a surprise. The Men’s World Cup Qualifiers, as opposed to other years, weren’t finished after the COVID 19 postponement and Mexico came into the year tied in points with Panama while remaining in third place. Mexico kicked the year off with a great victory away to Jamaica, but then returned to Mexico and only get a scoreless tie. Still Mexico got a vital win at home against Panama to close out the first window of qualifiers. In the last window, Mexico started with another scoreless tie at home, this time against the United States. Still they were able to win away to Honduras, which left the team with one foot in the door to go to Qatar. Then a clear 2-0 victory over El Salvador gave Mexico the ticket to the 2022 World Cup in second place in CONCACAF. This wound up being the biggest accomplishment for the senior men’s team.
As the year went on, Mexico’s senior men got some poor results during a summer tour where Mexico showed few things. This included a bad friendly loss against Uruguay by a 3-0 score. Still it was nothing compared to the first terrible result, one of the worst in history, that came to the youth teams. The 2022 U20 Men’s CONCACAF Championship gave tickets to not only the U20 World Cup but also to the 2024 Olympic Games. CONCACAF had decided to merge the tournament and even though it was big news and a big danger, even more so when the tournament was going to be held in Honduras, the Mexican federation didn’t lift a finger to have both tournaments. This would prove costly when after Mexico had crushed Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago in the Group Stage and Puerto Rico in the Round of 16, tragedy was coming in the Quarterfinals. Mexico had a terrible match and could only get a tie against Guatemala. Then in the penalty shootout, they would miss 4 out of 5 shots from the spot and get eliminated, losing out on the U20 World Cup but more importantly in the Olympic Games. The loss was a huge one for Mexico’s youth team, the worse in years and now Mexico will miss out on two big tournaments, the Olympic Games being the biggest.
A couple of days later, Mexico hosted the 2022 W CONCACAF Championship. The tournament gave four tickets to the 2023 Women’s World Cup and even two tickets to the playoffs to be held next year for another two tickets. Incredibly despite hosting the tournament in Monterrey, they would lose all three matches and miss out on the World Cup. An opening loss to Jamaica was compounded by a crushing loss to Haiti and then the last loss against an already qualified United States. After the summer, Mexico lost both important competitions and things needed to be shaken up. U20 Coach Luis Perez and sports director Gerardo Torrado got fired. Mexico’s Women National team coach Monica Vergara’s job was going to be judged but eventually she would be fired too.
After another round of lackluster games from the Mexican Men’s National Team, Mexico went to play in Qatar 2022 under coach Gerardo Martino. Mexico started with a scoreless tie against Poland, a result that looked good at the time but would end up costing them. Mexico then lost a key match against Argentina by a 2-0 score, which compounded with a 2-0 win from Poland against Saudi Arabia meant Mexico needed a win in the final match and to score goals. Mexico got their victory but the 2-1 win wasn’t enough and Poland squeaked through, ending the World Cup from Mexico and ending a streak from 1994 in which only Mexico and Brazil had qualified to the Round of 16 in every Men’s World Cup. It was the tragic end to a tragic year.
What’s next for Mexico? It will be tough to see but one thing that has to be done is to look at the terrible results. Not mentioned here is that club wise, Mexico also had a terrible results when Pumas lost the CONCACAF Champions League final against Seattle Sounders, ending a streak from 2006 of a Mexican team winning every CCL. The fact that president Yon de Luisa was able to keep his job after he made the decision of getting Gerardo Martino and naming Gerardo Torrado and Luis Perez and all of those decisions left to terrible results. There might be some good news as it looks like Mexico, along with several CONCACAF teams will play in the 2024 Copa America, but otherwise Mexico will only have a CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup as a tournament to play up until the decision is made to play in that competition. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, and it’s going to take a lot to get the bad taste out of the fans’ mouths.