Mexico Soccer Coach Miguel Herrera Fired After Alleged Fight With Journalist

Herrera couldn't handle the heat.

MEXICO CITY, July 28 - Mexico coach Miguel Herrera was fired on Tuesday, a day after he allegedly punched a reporter at the Philadelphia airport who had criticized his team's Copa America and Gold Cup performance.

Christian Martinoli, a sports journalist for Mexico's TV Azteca, said on Monday that Herrera threatened him and hit him in the neck as the Mexican team were heading home after winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

"Of what Miguel and I discussed, the only thing I can say is that it was very tough for Miguel," Decio de Maria, president of the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), told a news conference as he announced Herrera's departure.

Herrera took charge of a struggling Mexican team in 2013 and won praise for his management at the 2014 World Cup, when his side suffered an injury time loss to the Netherlands in the last 16 after leading for nearly all of the second half.

 Nicknamed "El Piojo," Herrera's animated, energetic persona made him a star of the tournament, but his team performed poorly in the Copa America, the South American championship in Chile in June, failing to win a game.

Martinoli had strongly criticized Herrera during the team's group stage exit from the Copa America.

TV Azteca's parent company, Grupo Salinas, had called on the FMF to launch an immediate investigation into the incident. (Reporting by Carlos Calvo, writing by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein, editing by Rex Gowar/Gene Cherry)