MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Luis Fernando Tena took over as Mexico coach on Saturday hours after an embarrassing home loss to Honduras in World Cup qualifying ended the two-year tenure of Jose Manuel De la Torre.
Mexico lost 2-1 to Honduras on Friday, and De la Torre was fired soon after the second ever loss in World Cup qualifying matches at Estadio Azteca. The first was in 2001 when Costa Rica won a match remembered in Mexico as the "Aztecazo.''
Tena, who was one of De la Torre's top assistants, won the Mexican league twice and guided Mexico to the gold medal at the London Olympics, one of the biggest sports achievements in Mexico's history.
It was Mexico's first Olympic medal in team sports since a bronze in basketball in 1936.
"Every coach wants to manage the national team, but not under these circumstances. They're not ideal because a friend, a boss has to go,'' Tena said at a news conference. "These are not the perfect conditions because the standings are saying that we are in a very tough spot.''
Mexican Football Association president Justino Compean said Tena was guaranteed managing only the game against the U.S. on Tuesday at Columbus, Ohio.
"We are taking one step at a time, because we don't know what will happen next Tuesday, but I have complete trust in Tena,'' Compean said. "There's no margin for error now, we are less than 72 hours away from (trying to win) three points. We hope to be in the next World Cup.''
With three games to go in CONCACAF qualifying, Mexico is fourth in the six-team final group. Only the top three qualify for the finals in Brazil next year, while the fourth will go into a playoff series against Oceania winner New Zealand.
Mexico has not missed a World Cup since 1990.
"I have faith in these players, I know them very well and I'm sure that the team will improve,'' Tena said. "They are committed and they are sticking together and that leads me to believe that we can play a good role in Columbus, even though nobody can guarantee a good result.''
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