Brent Latham: Mexican press needs to grow up with the rest of Mexican game

The petty, navel-gazing attitude of the Mexican soccer press does a disservice to the country's national team and its fans.

So Costa Rican coach Jorge Luis Pinto thinks Mexicans don’t descend from the heavens. This is really a main talking point ahead of Friday’s game in Costa Rica?

If you missed it, the Colombian boss of the Costa Rican national team made headlines earlier this week by stating, loosely translated, that “Mexicans don’t come from the sky,” meaning more or less that in his opinion they’re not really all that great - at something or other.

The rest of the meaning of such an opaque quote is open to interpretation. But clearly, on the eve of a World Cup qualifying showdown at home against El Tri, the coach had tired of questions, presumably from the Mexican media on recon detail in Central America ahead of Friday night’s game, about how well El Tri has been doing of late, or more specifically about what a country like Costa Rica can do about it.

That same line of questioning was on display in Mexico last month as well, ahead of the U.S. friendly at El Azteca. The Americans and their coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, were bombarded with inquiries about Mexican superiority, from Mexican and American reporters alike:

“What has Mexico done to move so far ahead so quickly?”

“Is there anything [insert country’s name] can hope to do to ever not lose 10-0 to Mexico again?”

“How can your pathetic soccer country hope to ever catch up?”

To be fair I made those last two up, but you get the point.

U.S. Federation President Sunil Gulati even canceled an encounter with reporters set for gameday, presumably because he wasn’t interested in genuflecting before the third estate’s false representatives of Mexican soccerdom. But U.S. soccer officials on the whole actually took the questions pretty well, answering with educated compliments of the Mexican federation and Mexican soccer in general.

Costa Rican Coach Pinto, maybe not so much. But you have to feel for the guy. He fell into the trap and proceeded to be crucified in the Mexican press for what should have been a non-story. And got called some pretty ugly names in the comments sections of various websites in the bargain.

Be that as it may, the better question here is why the need on the part of some of El Tri’s extended entourage in the press to travel the region basically rubbing other federations’ noses in Mexico’s success? It’s already plain to see. Mexico’s goals should probably not stop at showing up the region and collecting accolades; that’s not setting sites very high for an Olympic champion.

Important soccer nations act and think big. In Mexico, the federation, at least, seems to get it. The players get it. The results are there. Mexico is at least on the verge of the big time.

But the press, and to some extent many fans, are still intent on playing the bully in the region, longing to hear their vanquished regional foes admit to the superiority which has been a de facto reality of CONCACAF for most of the last half century anyway.

Well, as Pinto proved, that sort of surrender has never been forthcoming, and it’s still probably not something worth holding one’s breath for, even after the Olympic triumph.

Rather than scoping the federation for compliments about Mexican soccer, and then writing ridiculous rabble-rousing articles when they don’t appear, Mexican press would be better off just enjoying the ride, and getting back to covering the games.

There’s plenty of interesting soccer still to be played in CONCACAF, just as there are plenty of positive things going on in Mexican soccer to focus on.