Mexico coach ‘Tata’ Martino leaves job after World Cup exit

Gerardo “Tata” Martino has left his role as Mexico coach after El Tri exited the World Cup at the group stage on Wednesday.

Mexico beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their final group game, but it wasn’t enough to make the last 16 as they missed out to Poland on goal difference. Martino’s team took just one point from their first two matches in Qatar, failing to score in a draw with Poland and defeat to Argentina.

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In a news conference after the game, Martino said his contract had ended following Mexico’s elimination.

“I am the first responsible for this terrible disappointment and frustration that we have,” Martino said. “As the person in charge, it causes a lot of sadness, I fully assume responsibility for this great failure.

“My contract ended as soon as the referee blew the final whistle and there is nothing more to be done.”

It is the first time Mexico will not feature in the World Cup knockout stage since 1990, when they were banned from the tournament. The last time El Tri qualified for the tournament and failed to make it out of the group stage was in 1978.

Martino, who previously coached his native Argentina, took over as Mexico boss in January 2019 after he led Atlanta United to victory in MLS Cup.

But he became increasingly unpopular among Mexico’s supporters as the team made hard work of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, losing to the United States and Canada on the road and only drawing with them at home.

During Martino’s tenure, Mexico were also beaten by rivals US in the finals of the CONCACAF Nations League and the Gold Cup.

Martino was heavily scrutinized for his decision to continue excluding record goalscorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez from his squad, particularly amid Mexico’s scoring struggles in Qatar.