As Miguel Herrera was preparing to release his squad list for the home and away tie that Mexico will be playing against New Zealand in a World Cup Qualifying Playoff for one of the last spots for the 2014 World Cup, Herrera stated that the Mexican soccer fan, public and media should not expect any surprises.
While on the ESPN Deportes Radio program Raza Deportiva, Herrera stated maybe he would consider selecting a European-based player; on Friday he stuck to his guns as his squad list for the games against New Zealand on the 13th and 20th of this month is the same as that which he had for the friendly game against Finland with the only inclusion being Alfredo Talavera as the third goalkeeper.
While many would have loved to see Herrera include European-based players, especially on defense given that the defense on Wednesday night against Finland looked poor and caused great concern amongst many, Herrera decided not to bring the likes of Diego Reyes or Hector Moreno. He also decided on not bringing over Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez or Giovani Dos Santos, both players who in their last game each scored two goals. While many are still puzzled as to why Herrera decided not to bring over any European-based players, when you take a step back and analyze his reason for his decision, you will come to the conclusion that Herrera is justified in only calling upon Liga MX-based players.
First and foremost, even with European-based players, Mexico still has found itself in a situation where it has to qualify for the World Cup via the playoff route. Therefore, just because you call up those players, it offers no guarantee that they will be able to help the team as needed. Getting past that point, Herrera stated one of his reasons, actually his main reasons for not calling up European-based players is because of logistics. Looking at it, he is right on with that assessment and reason.
Given that the first game will be played on Wednesday the 13th at 2:30 p.m. local time in Mexico City, this means that the European-based players would not even have 48 hours to get acclimated, which is not nearly enough time to expect those players to be able to contribute their best when asked to play in those conditions in that city. So, Herrera needs to rely on players who are more acclimated to the conditions which will be present. And then to ask the same European players to make a 24-25 hour flight to Auckland and only have 48-to-72 hours to get some understanding of what Herrera wants from them given what’s at stake is unfair to them and those already who have been working and training under Herrera.
Because of what’s at stake, Herrera was asked to do what was necessary to get Mexico into the World Cup as the interim and he has chosen a formula of relying on 10 Club America players — his players — sprinkled with other players in form to accomplish the task. By doing this, he is able to form and put together a team in such a short time given that many of the players on the team will know how they are expected to play along with a few players who have been playing in a similar tactical system like those who play for Leon, he is able to put together a functioning team.
We must remember that Herrera was the fourth coach to be taking charge of this national team in a span of over 50 days and as a result, the fastest way to assemble a functioning team on the field to accomplish the task of getting Mexico to the World Cup is by the method he has chosen, and that in part includes no European-based players. That is why Herrera is justified and has valid reasons for deciding to accomplish the task at hand without the Europeans.