El Tri fans grumble about coach Martino’s roster selections

Manager Gerardo Martino is not popular among El Tri fans after leaving Diego Lainez and Santi Giménez off the World Cup roster. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Manager Gerardo Martino is not popular among El Tri fans after leaving Diego Lainez and Santi Giménez off the World Cup roster. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /
El Tri fans roster
Héctor Herrera (left) and Rogelio Funes Mori will be in Qatar with El Tri even though neither has played much since August. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /

Mexico manager Gerardo Martino named his final 26-man roster for the World Cup on Monday and immediately started a firestorm of criticism for who is not on the list.

Social media lit up with complaints and lamentations, primarily about the decision to leave out youngsters Diego Lainez, 22, and Santi Giménez, 21.

This should come as no surprise to El Tri fans as “Tata” has stubbornly stuck with a veteran roster throughout his nearly four years and 62 games in charge of Team Mexico.

Martino has one more game – vs Sweden on Wednesday – to prepare his team for the World Cup opener against Poland on Nov. 22.

El Tri roster

Mexico’s 2022 World Cup team includes 10 players who appeared in Russia 2018 and two players who are on their fifth World Cup roster. It also features 10 players who won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics back in August 2021.

Here is “Tata” Martino’s squad list (names in bold play on teams in Europe):

Goalies: Guillermo Ochoa (América), Alfredo Talavera (FC Juárez), Rodolfo Cota (León)

Defenders: César Montes (Monterrey), Néstor Araujo (América), Héctor Moreno (Monterrey), Johan Vásquez (Cremonese), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey), Jorge Sánchez (Ajax), Kevin Álvarez (Pachuca)

Midfielders: Edson Álvarez (Ajax), Héctor Herrera (Houston Dynamo), Andrés Guardado (Real Betis), Carlos Rodríguez (Cruz Azul), Luis Romo (Monterrey), Luis Chávez (Pachuca), Erick Gutiérrez (PSV Eindhoven)

Wingers: Orbelín Pineda (AEK Athens), Alexis Vega (Chivas), Roberto Alvarado (Chivas), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul)

Forwards: Rogelio Funes Morí (Monterrey), Raúl Jiménez (Wolves), Henry Martín (América), Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano (Napoli)

The 10 men from the Russia 2018 roster are: Ochoa, Talavera, Moreno, Gallardo, Álvarez, Herrera, Guardado, Gutiérrez, Jiménez and Lozano.

All three “senior players” from El Tri Olímpico will be in Qatar – Ochoa, Romo and Martín – as will these seven other bronze medalists: Sánchez, Montes, Vásquez, Rodríguez, Antuna, Vega and Alvarado.

‘Tata’ sides with veterans over youth

Many of the complaints about Martino’s roster management throughout the World Cup cycle have focused on his seeming reluctance to give youngsters a chance. “Tata” also seems to emphasize a “hierarchical structure” over the current form of individual players.

Striker Raúl Jiménez has been sidelined since Aug. 31 and his club coach advised him not to play in the World Cup since he was only recently cleared to resume full training. Yet he will be in Qatar with El Tri and is expected to see some game time Wednesday.

Veterans Rogelio Funes Mori (back-up striker) and Héctor Herrera (potential starter in midfield) have been injured most of the summer yet they both made the final cut. Funes Mori played 166 minutes since Aug. 18, while Herrera saw just 62 minutes of action since Aug. 22.

So it is understandable that fans preferred that “Tata” give Santi Giménez a shot.

The same can’t be said for Diego Lainez as he has only played in 10 games (302 total minutes), but El Tri fans have an over-inflated opinion of the diminutive playmaker because of his dribbling skills.

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Still, the ire of Mexico supporters is directed at Roberto Alvarado (who started ahead of Lainez at the Olympics) as the Chivas winger scored just 2 goals for a mediocre Guadalajara team this past season. However, to be fair to “Piojo,” he is a more versatile player – winger, forward and fullback if less spectacular with the ball at his feet.