Mexico players haven't wavered in their support for manager Juan Carlos Osorio, so Sunday's 1-0 victory over reigning World Cup champion Germany served as vindication for many.
Despite a positive record overall and what appears to be an excellent relationship between the coach and his players, Osorio has been the subject of ferocious criticism in Mexico. In the team's final match at home before traveling for the World Cup, chants of "Fuera Osorio" - Osorio out - were heard in the Estadio Azteca as Mexico closed out a 1-0 win over Scotland. Those critics were quieter Sunday, as El Tri secured a historic triumph, beating Germany for the first time in history.
"I’ve never been able to understand the criticism toward ‘El Mister”. I never have, and I never will, honestly," said Miguel Layun, a defender who played in midfield Sunday. "Because you see someone who puts himself into things like he does for this group, for this team, it’s difficult to see that from the outside, without knowing the intricacies of things or living the day to day like we who are part of this group. It brings up a very radical and very tough question.
"Sometimes it seems baseless to me. Because if we’re able to turn around and realize that we qualified for the World Cup, if I’m not mistaken, without a problem. I don’t remember suffering during this process to be here. At the end, we’ve had two results that have affected us. That’s a fact. The game against Chile, but for me that’s a circumstantial game. There’s that and the game against Germany in the Confederations Cup. So, sometimes it’s tough to leave behind all that has happened, but we think he’s doing really good. He’s as happy as we are, but he's already thinking about the next game. For me, the manager is a genius."
Even players who didn't take part in the victory expressed support of the manager. Midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos is awaiting his World Cup debut, but said he's staying patient with the manager and is puzzled about the negativity as Layun.
Dos Santos has noticed, however, a huge reversal in the last 24 hours from many of those who spoke out against Osorio in the past.
"Every squad he’s had, he’s had for a reason. He knows a lot about football, he knows what he’s doing, he knows why he puts every player in the position he does. I think the criticisms they’re just, well as they say, they’re f*cking up," he said in Spanish, laughing as he used a Mexican slang term. "So, I think that showed today.
"The only bad thing I see is now they want to get on the bus, the people who were criticizing this whole time. But he’s calm, he’s good, he’s happy and he’s already thinking in the next training session that we’re about to have in 10 minutes. After the game, he was panning what we could train on. We’re happy for him, because this victory is more than deserved."
Mexico returned to training Monday morning just more than 12 hours after securing the triumph over Germany. The next game for El Tri is Saturday against South Korea in Rostov-on-Don.