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Jun 16, 2014

Herrera's social media savvy a plus

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera seems like an unlikely candidate to be the World Cup king of selfies and social media in general. Portly and diminutive, he doesn't have the former player credentials or the golden locks of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, but there are solid reasons why Herrera has around 500,000 followers on Twitter, 130,000 more than Klinsmann.

- Marshall: Mexico doesn't fear Brazil
- Hernandez: Five key issues for Mexico
- Report: Mexico stunned by fans' support

Despite his involvement in the world's biggest tournament and facing enormous pressure from an entire country to bring glory to Mexico, Herrera has fun on social media platforms. He has tweeted photos of fans wearing masks of his visage in full-throated yelling mode. He sent holiday greetings to everyone for Father's Day and regularly updates his account with selfies taken with players or fans.

Herrera also turns his social media addiction into something good, helping to publicize certain causes, such as that of a young fan needing a double-lung transplant.

There's even a competitive element to Herrera's messages to the public, since he has come out in support of a bet between the official Twitter accounts of Mexico and Brazil over which will have more followers before the match between the two on Tuesday. So far, Brazil is losing, so Herrera's direct involvement could be having an effect on the outcome.

Herrera doesn't just promote good will and friendly wagers on social media, however. He is a bit revolutionary in being the rare coach to serve up actual sporting information directly to the public. Lineups are put up for the world to see, and so far they have matched what Herrera has put out on the field.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera's confident off-field persona has inspired belief among fans of El Tri.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera's confident off-field persona has inspired belief among fans of El Tri.

There's a method to Herrera's social media madness, though. Mexico, both as a team and a country, was in a funk after a poor showing in 2013. Herrera's actions not only shook up the establishment but also inspired a new confidence and belief. His views are unfiltered by news agencies or other media, so it's more of a direct line to the man himself.

After all, if Herrera isn't afraid of Mexico's opponents knowing whom they will face in advance, why shouldn't supporters and players alike trust the coach's bravado that El Tri can take on any team without fear?

Cynics will argue that Herrera is a public relations master, promoting himself as much as his team. Of course, but that's partly because it's clear that Herrera is so invested in El Tri that he considers promoting himself and the squad one and the same.

It's like Herrera is Santa Claus and Mexico at the 2014 World Cup is Christmas. They are inextricably linked.

On Twitter, Herrera's profile picture has him posing holding a toy version of the tournament mascot, Fuleco. The background picture is the World Cup trophy itself, sitting in a stadium with the tournament soccer ball, the Brazuca. It's a visual that sends a strong message about what Herrera, and Mexico, is focused on right now.