MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico coach Miguel Herrera's goal is nothing less than winning the World Cup.
Most would find that ridiculous.
"When you arrive at the top, you have to keep looking up with the idea of changing everything and winning a World Cup," Herrera said. "It's very difficult, but if you don't go (to a World Cup) with that dream, then why are you going?"
Herrera's enthusiasm has gripped his home country, where he is already a media darling.
Brash, outgoing and not afraid to ruffle feathers, Herrera's career took off after he guided Mexican club America to a 2013 league title. His wild on-the-field celebrations were all over social network sites.
It was that title that propelled Herrera into the national team as Mexico's fourth coach in the World Cup qualifying cycle. He took charge in November after a series of lackluster displays led to a cull of three coaches between Sept. 6 and Oct. 17, as Mexico's participation in Brazil hung on the edge.
Herrera's first significant move was to exclude Mexico's Europe-based players — including Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez and Villarreal forward Giovani Dos Santos — from a two-match playoff against New Zealand.
He justified his decision by saying the travel involved would be too much, and there were enough good players in Mexico.
In their place, 11 players from his former club were called up in Herrera's first squad.