Azteca defeat forces Compean to make change in Mexico

Justino CompeanBy Andrew Warshaw
September 9 - José Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre has been sacked as Mexico coach following last Friday's shock 2-1 home defeat by Honduras that seriously dented their automatic World Cup qualification hopes.

The Mexican FA immediately replaced him with Luis Fernando Tena who coached the national team to the London Olympics gold medal last year.

"Results have not been good," said Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean (pictured). "We are in an extremely complex situation. I took the decision, after consulting with my colleagues, to make a change."

It was only the second ever World Cup qualifying home defeat in the Azteca Stadium for 77 games and left the Mexicans fourth in the CONCACAF standings, outside the automatic qualification slots.

Significantly, it also added even more spice for Tuesday's showdown against traditional rivals the United States in Columbus, Ohio. After that Mexico have a home game against Panama in October before travelling to CONCACAF leaders Costa Rica.

The fourth-placed CONCACAF side will face a two-legged World Cup playoff against New Zealand in November to decide which of them makes it to Brazil.

De la Torre had been under fire ever since Mexico made an early exit from the Confederations Cup in June. The squad then failed to retain their Gold Cup title but the real worry is the risk of missing out on the World Cup finals.

Mexico were disqualified from the 1990 World Cup finals for using over-age players in an earlier youth championship but the last time they actually failed to make it through the CONCACAF qualifying process was in 1982.

The team's poor recent form is in stark contrast with last year's Olympic triumph. "This represents a huge responsibility," said Tena as he looked ahead to the final phase. "We do not like to come in like this because the standings tell us the situation is very difficult."

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