World Cup: Mexico's Coach Jorge Aguirre takes the blame
Mexican Coach Jorge Aguirre took responsibility for his team's early exit from the World Cup, saying that although he did his best, that best was "lacking."
"I'm not happy," he said. "We're out of the World Cup, and I'm responsible for it; that's clear. I was not able to change the course of history. I was lacking something to be able to convince, to maintain rhythm. I did what I could."
Mexico struggled through group play, beating only France, before losing 3-1 to Argentina on Sunday in a second-round elimination game. It was the fifth straight World Cup in which Mexico went out in the second round and the second time in four years it was ousted by Argentina.
"I'm hurt ... by the elimination, for everybody." Aguirre said. "We had legitimate illusions of playing a good game."
Mexico appeared to be in control of the match until the 26th minute, when Argentina got a goal from Carlos Tevez, who should have been ruled offside. Another score by Gonzalo Higuain seven minutes later, following a bad pass by Mexican defender Ricardo Osorio, changed the course of the match, burying Mexico in a hole it couldn't climb out of.
But Aguirre said he was proud of his team no matter the result.
"They played with personality, they played well. Before and after the two errors," he said.
It has been rumored that Aguirre is once again looking for a club coaching job in Spain, where he has repeatedly said he is headed after the World Cup. But after Sunday's game, he didn't completely rule out staying with the Mexican national team.
He said he had to consult with the Mexican federation. "I suppose they're going to ask me for explanations to come to a conclusion and after that we'll make it public."
If he goes, Aguirre won't be the only one leaving. Veterans Rafael Marquez, Gerardo Torrado, Carlos Salcido, Adolfo Bautista, Oscar Perez, Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Guillermo Franco are all unlikely to return if Mexico qualifies for the 2014 World Cup.
After the match, Aguirre said he told his players they had nothing to ashamed of. "I wished them luck in the future and I told them that I was proud of them," Aguirre said. "I told them that for 76 days, including [Sunday] they had behaved beautifully and that I wanted the same in their comments, in their return to Mexico. It's an honor to be part of the Mexican national team, and we can't change because of one loss or one elimination.
"We were a team that wasn't easy to beat. We're not 17th [in the world], like FIFA says. We're one of the best 15 in the world."
-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg, South Africa