I decided to end my save with Celaya FC in Mexico some time ago. But it doesn’t mean the whole save died too. I took inspiration from someone other and switched from the club to the national team. And, logically, I wanted to stay in the same nation where I spent the entire time within my main FM20 save – Mexico. Welcome to my first post about the experience with the international management in FM20. ¡Viva México!
The inspiration to leave the club and try the international management is thanks to the greatest FM bot from all – @fmadventurebot. He spent a lot of time with his beloved Glentoran during the FM20 but he also played with the Northern Ireland for some time.
His hunt for the goalscoring record of the national team within The Legend of Stephen Coyle is one of the best things you can read within the world of Football Manager during the FM20 cycle.
He also wrote about it in the 4th Late Quarterly issue.
I didn’t expect I will spend the same amount of time with FM20 as with the previous version(s). I usually ended in 2035 and far in the previous saves. But I knew it won’t happen this time. Ten seasons with the club are quite well and accurate.
Also because of the domination in Mexico and North America.
But on the other hand, the new version is still several months away. And despite I have a lot of work and a lot of real-life things to do, I need also some FM.
The fact I will keep the same save and will be able to check my Celaya players and their development, that’s ideal situation and combination.
If the question would be: “How good was Mexico in this save so far?”, the answer would be easy. Not good enough.
They had three managers in the last ten years.
|Manager||Date joined||Date left||League Wins||Cup Wins|
Mexico won North American Nations League in 2020, 2024 and 2028 and they won Gold Cup in 2021. But that’s all. Gold Cup is played every two years. USA won it in the last three occassions, Mexico didn’t make it even into the final in 2027.
The Mexican national team is currently 10th in the world rankings. But what about the World Cups?
- 2022 – 3rd place in the group stage with 2 points for two draws in a group with Colombia (won all three matches), Germany and Australia.
- 2026 – lost to Portugal in the Third round – won the group with Russia and Japan, beat South Korea in the second round.
I joined the team just after the international break in June 2029. A couple of days later after I resigned from the Celaya job, Miguel Herrera has shown his interest in Celaya job and Mexican federation sacked him
They just beat Guatemala (7-1) and Nicaragua (5-0) in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualification. We have also Costa Rica in the group.
Next World Cup is schedule to 2030 in Italy, the aim is clear – make it farther then to the third round.
The last formation I’ve used with Celaya was 3-4-1-2 with the AM player and it worked perfectly while using both wing backs with the attacking duty.
I decided to take the core of this formation but I’ve moved the AM player up to use three strikers. Let’s have a fun with the 5-2-3 WB (or 3-4-3/3-2-2-3).
The other difference from the original tactics was I switched the left CM player to DLP(S) from CM(S). Mainly to make the most from the Gilberto Erick Serrano The second central midfielder was kept as “The Bulldozer”.
I decided to use Advanced Forward, PF(D) and DLF(A) upfront. The pressing forward should help central midfielders with pressing around the half-line.
Hopefully, I will be able to write a tactical post about this during the autumn before the FM20 will be over.
Picking the squad
How to select players to the national team was chosen in the most simple way. As I already knew what tactic we will use, I decided to try to select the best possible players for all the roles.
That meant, I went to the Search screen, added the Mexican nationality and all the required attributes for the specific role. And I just experimented and changed the positions, roles, attributes until I found the right player.
You can also select the already prepared view with the specific set of attributes. That could be useful within goalkeepers for example.
It was interesting as I was able to find a lot of players I didn’t know before despite I spent 10 years within this save. As I already mentioned keepers, only one keeper from the last national team selection appeared in the search list – Moisés Orea from Monterrey.
More about the putting the national team together in the next post.
I cleared the whole squad and just started from scratch. Three keepers, six central defenders, four wing backs, four central midfielders, six strikers…
Don’t be too reliable on Celaya players
There were 6 players from Celaya in the last squad before I took over the national team. I knew I already mention Serrano for the DLP(S) role but I didn’t want to be too reliable on Celaya players.
I still remember the FM18 save in Hungary when I had almost the identical club & national team starting XI.
Infante, Serrano and Ríos were 100% that I will include them in the squad. But the rest? Pineda as the main WB(A) on the right side But for example, goalkeeper Erick Vargas didn’t make it despite he broke all the clean sheets records of Celaya and the Mexican both top tiers.
And this is how my first selection, for the Gold Cup 2029, looked like. Some of the players were not even in the national pool (the three players below), some of the players received the first call up. In the end, there were 8 Celaya players but not all of them were considered as a part of the starting XI.
(Olvera is fantastic btw, I would buy him…)
How it went?
I was able to go through the second half of the year 2029. We played the Gold Cup 2029 and the rest of the World Cup qualification. The bonus was the friendly match against Italy in November 2029 in Palermo at the Renzo Barbera – La Favorita stadium.
As I mentioned before, Mexico didn’t win the Gold Cup since 2021 and they didn’t even make the final two years ago.
My aim was to win it and bring the trophy back. We had Guatemala (3-1 ), Trinidad & Tobago (4-2 ) and El Salvador (1-0 ) in the group stage.
We made it through to the knock-out stage and beat Haiti 4-0 in the quarter final. It was clearly the easiest match of all so far in the tournament. On the other side, the hardest one was in the semi final against Costa Rica and their 4-1-4-1 DM formation.
They were perfectly compact and defended really well. We were 0-1 down after Alpizar’s goal in the 7th minute but I made small tweaks and we turned the score around before the half time and scored two more goals in the 2nd half.
The final against the USA had a surprising start as we were 3-0 up after the first 16 minutes. Our youngest player Jonatan Arenas scored twice and made one assist.
As you would expect, we didn’t score more goals. And we conceded twice around the half time as Josh Sargent and Cameron Carter-Vickers put the USA back to the game. But we defended well and won 3-2. The Gold Cup trophy is back in Mexico.
We beat Costa Rica and Guatemala in September and secured the World Cup 2030 place.
The Mexican national team results in 2029
I joined the squad before the Gold Cup. The friendly with Italy in November and our 3-1 win was one of the highlights for sure.
We went down but we were able to score three goals after a patient play and the tactical changes worked perfectly. But I will keep details for the tactical post.
The last match of the 2029 was another friendly against Martinique and we won 6-0 after some backup players got their chance but it was a shame that most of them were able to play only for 45 minutes due to club instructions.
What happened to Celaya in the 2nd half of 2029?
Gerardo Martino (click to see his profile) was appointed as the new Celaya manager instead of Herrera as he moved here after five years with Monterrey. A great rivalry continues.
The new Celaya manager has spent more money in two weeks than me in the last 7 years. Ten players for €36M.
They sold Jonathan Arenas for €8M to Chivas. The most promising striker from all youth intakes.
They sold José Francisco Pineda to Atlético de Madrid for €25.5M.
The team participated in the Club World Cup 2029. They beat Juventus 3-2 in the group but lost to PSG in the quarter-final.
Celaya didn’t make the Apertura play-off for the first time since the promotion to the top tier in 2020. The club finished 11th in the table and Gerardo Martino was sacked just one match before the end of the Apertura when his side lost to PUMAS 0-1 at home.
165 days – 9 games won, 3 games drawn, 12 games lost.