Mexico fires Cocca, names Lozano as interim coach

Gomez slams 'embarrassing' anti-gay chants during USMNT vs. Mexico (1:24)

Herculez Gomez speaks after USMNT vs. Mexico was ended early by the referee due to anti-gay chants. (1:24)

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) on Monday officially dropped Diego Cocca as manager of the senior men's national team after a third-place finish in the Concacaf Nations League. In his place, Jaime "Jimmy" Lozano will step in as interim coach.

Cocca, hired in February and fired from his post with a 3-3-1 record, fell below expectations last week after Mexico lost 3-0 to the United States in the Nations League and beat Panama 1-0 in the ensuing third-place game.

"In the last week, I have found many deficiencies," FMF commissioner president Juan Carlos Rodriguez said in a video on Monday.

"A game against the United States can be lost, there's always that risk because this is football and the win can go one way or the other. What cannot be accepted was the way in which it happened," he said.

"This phase has been flawed by the disorder in decision-making, by the lack of processes, rigor, and transparency in appointments, and by a perfect storm in the bad habits that we've been dragging for so many years.

"The natural thing to do would be to wait for the end of the Gold Cup, but today we don't have time to waste. So I inform you that I've made the decision to terminate the contract of Diego Martin Cocca and the members of his coaching staff," Rodriguez said.

Cocca pushed back on questions surrounding his sacking on Monday, suggesting that he did everything he could to help Mexico during his short tenure.

"You don't have to ask me," Cocca said. "You should rather speak with the people who made the decision. I did everything I could, but they didn't let me continue. So talk to the people who have something to say. I'm going home to be with my family,"

Rodriguez later added that Rodrigo Ares de Parga would also be dropped as executive director of national teams. The firing of Cocca and Ares de Parga add to the list of ongoing changes at the FMF since last year.

In the past 11 months, and related to just the men's side, Mexico has made the following changes: the firing of general sporting director Gerardo Torrado and sporting director of national teams Ignacio Hierro; the hiring and eventual exit of Jaime Ordiales as sporting director for men's national teams; the exit of men's coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino; the hiring and firing of Ares de Parga as the executive director of national teams; the hiring of Duilio Davino as sporting director of men's national teams; the hiring and firing of Cocca as the new men's coach; the exit of former FMF president Yon de Luisa; and the election of Rodriguez as the new FMF president.

Through a recent FMF restructuring last week, Rodriguez transitioned to commission president, while Ivar Sisniega was given the role of executive president.

Following Sunday's third-place finish in the Nations League, Cocca seemed to hint at his future after stating in a postgame news conference that "there's a lot of people who want me to leave."

When asked to be specific, the coach didn't give any details.

Before leading Mexico in his first international job, the 51-year-old from Argentina made a name for himself through back-to-back Liga MX championships with Atlas in the 2021 Apertura and 2022 Clausura.

Within Liga MX, he also coached Club Tijuana and Tigres, where he left after just a few months in charge to take the role with Mexico in February.

The former defender previously managed teams in Argentina and Colombia as well.

After being hired by Mexico, Cocca replaced fellow countryman Martino, who walked away from the Mexico role last year after his contract ran out.

He coached El Tri to a disappointing exit in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup.

At the upcoming Gold Cup, Lozano will lead Mexico as interim coach in group stage matches against Honduras (June 25), Haiti (June 29) and Qatar (July 2).

On Sunday, Mexico revealed that Chivas forward Alexis Vega will be unavailable for the tournament because of a knee injury.

Lozano, 44, led El Tri's Olympic squad to a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020.

In Liga MX, he's had experience as manager of Queretaro and Necaxa.