July 23 2004

Mexicans mourn catastrophic exit

By Miguel Gutierrez

On a cloudy morning, the disheartened Mexicans got up feeling disappointed because of the defeat of their country at the hands of Brazil, in the Copa América Peru 2004.

“How was the match, sir”, a newsvendor asked his client. “Awful,” he answered.

This was just one of the comments heard in the early hours of the day, after the “gloomy” night for the Mexican team, beaten 4-nil by Brazil in the quarterfinals of the longest-running continental team championship in the world.

Mexico, who had previously been praised by the press for their triumph in the first phase, after the 1-nil win against Argentina, one of the firm favorites for the South American title, was highly criticized for their erratic performance.

“Very weak”, was the headline in the morning “Esto” which added in the article: “It’s over. Mexico were eliminated by Brazil in disappointing fashion.”

Mexican coach quits

Before the match against Brazil, for the quarterfinals, in which his team was thrashed 4-nil by Carlos Alberto Pereira’s men, Ricardo Lavolpe stated that Brazil never made him lose sleep or appetite, in a scornful provocation towards the Brazilian squad.

After the match on the 18th, when Mexico squandered few chances, Lavolpe expressed his lack of motivation to continue at the helm of the Mexican team and said he might quit the job: “I must talk to Mr. Alberto de la Torre (President of the Mexican Football Federation), but I will most probably leave the job open for another person to manage Mexico. I’m sick and tired of all the criticism.”

Despite not having spoken to the coach yet (as of 7/20), President Alberto de la Torre, supported the permanence of Lavople: “He’s still in charge, and a poor result won’t sack him from the national team.”

The headlines on Mexican newspapers expressed all their dissatisfaction with the Mexican side. “El Diario” wrote: “It could have been worse!” “Diario do Mexico” highlighted that Lavolpe´s confidence in beating Brazil was an illusion: “Mexico’s bitter awakening”. “Ovaciones” were more emphatic: “After achieving his greatest feat by beating Argentina, in this Copa América, Lavolpe suffers his worst humiliation by losing to Brazil”.

Argentinean-born Ricardo Lavolpe took charge of the Mexican team in January, 2003, and the main titles won by the Aztec side was the Copa Ouro, ironically against Brazil and the qualification of the Under-23 squad to the Olympics in Athens.

For the latest news on Copa Ameríca go to Tierra.com (http://global.terra.com/copa americaperu2004/) for the most up-to-date news.

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