[MEXICO]On the eve of the Hexagonal, Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre, then 12-0-0 with the Tri in official competition, boasted that his goal for the final round of World Cup qualifying was to go 10-for-10. Six games into the Hexagonal, Chepo looks rather foolish. If you throw out the 1-0 win at Jamaica on Day 6 -- moved ahead two weeks because of its participation in the Confederations Cup -- Mexico would be a perfect 5-for-5 -- five draws -- and sit in fifth place at the halfway point.
As it stands, Mexico sits in a tie for second place on eight points with Costa Rica, which has a game in hand. Barring road wins by Honduras and Panama next Tuesday, Mexico will sit no worse than tied for third place after six games.
Four years ago, Mexico was fourth in the Hexagonal at the midway point with six points but went on to take 13 of its final 15 points and qualify easily. Twelve years ago, the Tri was fifth with just four points, four behind the third-place team, Honduras, after back-to-back losses -- including its only home loss ever in qualifying -- when Javier Aguirre was brought at the last minute for the game against the USA and Mexico won, 2-1, putting it on course to qualify again with 13 of its final 15 points.
After such a horrible start to the 2013 Hexagonal, you'd think de la Torre would get the picture.
"I prepare myself every day to win," he said after Tuesday's 0-0 tie with Costa Rica -- its third straight scoreless draw at home in the Hexagonal.
Before the game against the Ticos, Chepo called it a must-win situation.
“At home, we have to make our advantage count,” he said. “For me, a win is necessary to get the points to be in a good position in the standings.”
Thanks to his 12-0-0 start -- 6-0-0 in the semifinal round of qualifying and 6-0-0 in the 2011 Gold Cup -- De la Torre is still looking to become just the second Mexico coach in the last 30 years to survive the entire qualifying campaign.Ricardo La Volpe did so in 2004-05, but Mexico then employed four national team coaches in 2008-09.
So did Chepo have any thoughts of resigning after Tuesday's game?
“I’ve never thought about resigning," he said.