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World Cup: Fired Mexico coach Martino accepts blame for 'terrible disappointment'

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Argentina's Nicolas Otamendi (R) battles Mexico's Hirving Lozano (C) at 2022 World Cup on Saturday at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar. Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI
Argentina's Nicolas Otamendi (R) battles Mexico's Hirving Lozano (C) at 2022 World Cup on Saturday at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar. Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Fired Mexico manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino is responsible for the soccer team's "terrible disappointment" at the 2022 World Cup, he told reporters at a news conference.

Martino said Wednesday in Doha, Qatar, that his contract to coach the team expired after a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in their group stage finale. The win was not enough to lift Mexico into the knockout stage Round of 16.

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"I am the first responsible for this terrible disappointment and frustration that we have," Martino said. "As the person in charge, it causes a lot of sadness. I fully assume responsibility for this great failure.

"My contract ended as soon as the referee blew the final whistle and there is nothing more to be done."

Argentina beat Poland on Wednesday to win Group C. Poland tied Mexico with four points, but claimed the group's second entry to the Round of 16 because of a better goal differential.

Argentina earned two wins and a loss in the group stage. Poland and Mexico each logged a win, loss and draw. Last-place Denmark had two losses and a draw.

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Martino held the manager role for the men's national team since 2019. He also coached the Argentina and Paraguay national teams, in addition to stops at Barcelona, Atlanta United and at several South American clubs.

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Mexico advanced past the group stage in each of their previous eight World Cup appearances.

Argentina will play Australia in the Round of 16 at 2 p.m. EST Saturday in Ar-Rayyan. Poland will start the knockout stage with a game against reigning-champion France at 10 a.m. Sunday in Doha.

Fans cheer on World Cup contenders in Qatar

A Morocco fan supports his team while wearing a costume during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Semi-Final match between Morocco and France at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, on December 14, 2022. Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI | License Photo

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