MEXICO CITY - Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was fired on Thursday, less than 24 hours after his team lost 3-1 to Honduras in a World Cup qualifier. "This morning we talked to Mr Eriksson and announced his departure," Mexican Football Federation (FMF) president Justino Compean told a news conference. "It's a fact results have not been what we expected." Eriksson took over in June from Hugo Sanchez, who was sacked after 16 months in the job. Wednesday's defeat in San Pedro Sula left Mexico fourth in the final stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with three points from three games, below leaders United States (seven points), Costa Rica (six) and Honduras (four). The Swede's position has been the subject of frequent speculation after several away defeats including two World Cup reverses in Honduras and one in Jamaica. Under his leadership Mexico played five competitive away games, losing four and drawing one in Canada. "Results away from home have to be better, I'm responsible," Eriksson told the conference. "I have to accept this without making a drama out of it." The former England coach's overall record with Mexico, including friendlies, was six wins, one draw and six defeats. Eriksson took charge with the team already involved in World Cup qualifying. Critics warned he would have little time to learn about the idiosyncracies of Mexican football and the difficult playing conditions in Central America and the Caribbean. The team won their first three qualifiers, all at home, but were nearly eliminated after losing in Jamaica and Honduras and drawing in Canada. Mexico squeezed into the final stage on goal difference and then lost 2-0 to United States in February. Saturday's 2-0 win over Costa Rica gave Eriksson respite but defeat on Wednesday was the final straw. He had also been underfire for the number of naturalised players he picked, including Argentine-born Matias Vuoso, Lucas Ayala and Guillermo Franco and Brazilian-born Antonio Naelson and Leandro Augusto. The former Lazio, AS Roma, Sampdoria, Benfica and Manchester City coach replied he was merely following the rules. Eriksson also found that many of Mexico's European-based professionals were short of match practice with their clubs because of loss of form or injuries. Former Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre has been tipped by Mexican media as the favourite to take over. The team's next World Cup qualifier is in El Salvador on June 6.
2 April 2009
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