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Olympic Qualifying: Do or Die for Hugo Sanchez


"What do you mean don’t bother coming back?"

Hugo Sanchez is a Mexican soccer legend, having starred for the national team and Real Madrid, but his career as Mexican national team coach may end at the hands of none other than the Hatian Under-23 national team on Sunday.

Yes, you read that right.

Mexico had been considered a potential medal contender in the 2008 Olympics but ‘El Tri’ may not even make it to China unless its Under-23 national team can beat Haiti on Sunday. Even if Mexico musters up what it needs to advance to the Olympic Qualifying semifinals, it will have to beat the United States to get to the Olympics.

If Mexico fails to qualify for the Olympics, and worse yet, fail to do so at the hands of the United States, Sanchez will face the very reap prospects of being fired after little more than a year on the job.

How did it come to this? A pair of losses to the United States in his first six months didn’t help matters, although a good showing at Copa America surely helped. After failing to beat the Americans in his third match against them, Sanchez has taken heat for results as well as for fielding naturalized player Zinha after being such a vocal opponent of using naturalized players.

Now Sanchez must deal with the possibility of having Mexico fail to qualify for the Olympics. Even with the likes of Giovanni Dos Santos and Carlos Vela unavailable because of club commitments, Mexico was still picked as a heavy favorite to win the qualifying tournament, let alone lose in the first round. Now Mexico faces a must-win against a Haiti team riding high after it’s comeback win against Canada.

Even if Mexico does beat Haiti, it will face the prospect of having to beat the United States in the semifinals. While the Americans have looked far from dominant, I’m pretty sure Hugo would prefer not to face them with the Olympics on the line.

Would it be fair to fire Sanchez before he ever coached a single World Cup qualifier? I don’t think it would be, but the storm clouds are gathering around Sanchez and he will need his team to win two straight matches this week to save his job.

What do you think of Sanchez’s position? Do you think he deserves to be in danger of losing his job? Do you think Sanchez deserves to stay regardledd of what happens? Share your thoughts below.


  1. Well, if Hugo gets canned, then who are the realistic replacements?

    I agree with JB, the time for that, if indeed it is really going take place, is now. There really isnt much time to learn a new coach and the coaching search could prove to be a lengthy process. This in turn would only jeopardize Mexico chances to qualify for the World Cup, which is coming up real quick. If you think that not qualifying for the Olympics was a travesty, imagine not qualifying for the WC would be like.

  2. Well, if the FMF is going to get rid of Sanchez now is the only realistic time to do it. They still have friendlies upcoming in May and June to learn a new coach’s system before World Cup qualifiers. The name that would be at the top for me would be Frank Rijkaard since he is quite familiar with some of their best players. But, he won’t come cheap if he can be pried away from Barca at all.

  3. i was right. espn deportes is showing d pre-olympics game even though its not on d guide. Hopefully everything goes well for mexico so we can have another mexico- usa. that would be awesome

  4. Modibo – i dont think players really know where they stand with Hugo now. One of the problems with the team is that Hugo hasn’t fielded the same line-ups, not just in the pre-olympic quals, but in all competitions. No one has been able to gel simply because of the lack of familiarization players need that comes from playing together on a consistent basis. He hasn’t played Bravo, called up DeNigris from Turkey, then Zinha, now Guille Franco and Aaron Galindo from Europe… there’s just no telling. Same with the pre-olympic quals, Hugo is not picking a plan and sticking with it. As much as I loved watching and rooting for Hugo growing up, its disapointing watching my even more beloved Mexico becoming a team I no longer have confidence in, and Hugo has much to blame for that. He has been given the honor and privilege in receive this “Golden Generation” to coach and train, but the question is, should the “Golden Generation” be honored and privileged to have Hugo Sanchez as coach? In my opinion, he was a great player but not a great coach, and a great coach is what this Golden Generation needs to fulfill its potential.

  5. u know what? I believe that espn will broadcast d games today but for some reason its not being shown on d guide. It has happened before and its happening right now because they are showing d panama- cuba game even though it says “Tenis” on d guide. I just wanna know what time d games are so I can check. anyone have an idea?

  6. I am no fan of the Mexican National Team, but the need to cut Hugo some slack. He certainly didn’t bring his best squad to the tournament, and it has shown. Considering how he did in the Copa America should clue them into what he can bring to the table. They are so quick to push the panic button when things to wrong.

    The other part of me hopes they can him and hire another coach so he can bring more irregularity to the team.

  7. If they beat Haiti he will safe unless the U.S. raises its level of play significantly.

    I have an uneasy sense that the late PK vs. Honduras will come back to haunt us.

    Hope I am wrong but thus far have seen no evidence to the contrary.


    So good to see Negra out there . . . and EJ looks good guys! He can actually be a hell of a threat! Who woulda thunk it?

    And dont give me that no goals yet garbage – he has had oppotynities – all he needs is more time.

    You see Hangeland and Negra beat on that striker? Nice

  9. Attention Yanks abroad fans! What would you rather see this year…

    Fulham survives releagation or

    Everton finishes in the top four?

    My vote is for Fulham’s survival.

  10. McBride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Come On You Whites! Come on Fulham!!!

  11. Original Aaron-

    I’m really getting tired of American fans trying to belittle what we did at Copa America. First of all Brazil was only missing TWO players that mattered, kaka and ronnie, who were given the summer off to rest, the rest of the team is the team that has been playing the qualifiers and is preferred by Dunga, do some research please before you go around saying stupid $hit. Mexico had it’s reserves and a couple veterans playing at Copa America, go look at the roster from the Gold Cup final and the first Copa America game and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    Anyway, I don’t really think we’ll beat Haiti because we always have problems with physical teams and both Guatemala and Canada punished us with aerial balls and physical play, not to mention the fact that Haiti came back from behind to beat Canada so their morale is pretty high contrary to ours and yes Ives, Hugo should really be fired because he embodies what people hate about Mexican soccer. He’s just full of excuses and bull$hit.


  12. Original Aaron: Davies pulled the Baggio in the 62nd minute, remember? Twice in a game would surely have exposed Nowak’s clever plan.

    RE: Hugo. Turnover in the coaching staff is dicey – team chemistry changes, players may not know where they stand, etc. So changing Hugo could backfire. But with the pressure always on for results, management feels the need to “do something.” Really, I don’t care what they do, as long as they maintain their losing ways against the US.

    I would sooooo like to see Haiti beat Mexico, though. I will then go pick up a copy of Hoy tomorrow for pictures of the Mexico team’s misery. It also would say good things about increasing parity in CONCACAF. I don’t think Mexico is going to lose this one, though. Not that I know anything about Haiti’s squad in order to make a prediction.

  13. Hey Johnny . . . I just turned on Setanta (cuz I am at work and COMPLETELY forgot . . . .luckliy, empty office and Setanta in Bosses office)

    And there was these rubber dolls talkin soccer?

    Its like an 80’s Genisis Video out there . . .

  14. Dempsey not starting today? EJ and McBride up top. Dempsey has looked tired lately, I would bet he comes in for the last 30.

    P.S. Ives I hijacked this post for running commentary…sorry.

  15. I can’t imagine a loss or tie to Haiti would be seen favorably, and we know a loss to the U.S. would just piss off the Mexicans. Down with Hugo! Up with miniskirts!

  16. Revenge is definitely sweet, and beating los Tricolores in the semifinals to deny them an Olympic birth will be one for the ages. However, our goal coming into this tournament was to qualify ourselves, not keep Mexico from qualifying, and a part of me thinks Gaven should have pulled a Roberto Baggio alla 1994 World Cup with his stoppage time penalty… And to answer the question at hand, yes Hugo deserves to be fired if they don’t qualify. It is early enough that a new coach could come in and get the ship righted during qualifying and in time for the start of the World Cup. I don’t feel like Mexico has have really looked in rythm or close to fulfilling their potential under Sanchez. Outside of gaining a result against Brazil in the Copa America what have they done? (that is an accomplishment that shouldn’t be belittled, but truth be told, Brazil was playing an understrength squad, and it was the only game in the tournament for which El Tri really put things together) Mexico and the USA need to do the same thing- get over themselves and go hire a foreign coach who has a reputation that commands respect from the players, and who will bring with him a different approach to the game which will help his players grow.


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