Everybody loves Miguel Herrera. Of all the controversial chants of “Puto”, “Me-hi-co!”, “Cielito Lindo” and more, the one chant that FIFA can’t stop is “Pi-o-jo, Pi-o-jo!”

Piojo” has become the rallying cry for millions of Mexicans as they gathered into the streets of Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey and more to celebrate Mexico’s 3-1 victory of Croatia and their advancement into the Round of 16.  

Six months ago advancement to the knockout stage seemed like a pipe dream for Mexico. A team that needed a last second and insignificant goal by the United States just to earn the right to play two elimination games with New Zealand seemed like a long shot at best to make the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, let alone get out of their group.

Here they stand though, on the precipice of Mexican soccer greatness. Led by the man hired right before the New Zealand matches to do exactly what he has done to date: turn things around.

On the surface, Herrera has become a comical character. Tweets, vines, memes, hash tags and more have spread throughout the globe, making the man who looks like a toad, a now global celebrity. His mix tape of maniacal celebrations is one of the top videos on the internet, and when he’s not using ‘colorful’ profanities to yell at referees, he’s taking interview requests over WhatsApp and predicting his team wins the World Cup.

Herrera has taken Mexico on Mr. Toad’s wild ride and through the journey he has preached fun, freedom and professionalism to his team. There are no Drill Sargeant comparisons in this camp, no draconian rules to isolate players, and no degrading or bullying to provoke effort. Herrera is old school in his style and simply instills confidence and trust in his team both in practice and on the pitch.

Herrera grew up in Hidalgo, a small, ugly, kid whose father was absent growing up. He said because of his father not being in his life, he learned to fight and defend himself at an early age. Perhaps this is where he developed the passion and his fiery personality that have made him so famous recently.

Miguel-Herrera-USA-94 Miguel Herrera in 1994 when he played for the Mexican National Team for four games. He did not make the roster for the World Cup however Reuters

Herrera made his debut as a soccer player for Mexico in 1986 for Atlante. He quickly became known throughout Mexico for his feistiness and toughness on the pitch earning him the nickname, “The Big Verde”. In 1993, he premiered with the Mexican national team in a friendly against El Salvador. He appeared in four games for Mexico that year, but despite his fierceness on the pitch, Herrera did not make the roster for the World Cup team in 1994. Soon after Herrera retired and turned to coaching.

the big verde Miguel "The Big Verde" Herrera was a short, scrappy, and feisty player for Mexico in 1994. Reuters

For over 40 years of his life. Miguel Herrera had never won a trophy or major title. He managed six different teams in a 12 year span before landing in Mexico City in 2011 where he coached America. On May 26th, 2013, America won the league title by defeating Cruz Azul 4-2 in the pouring rain. His celebration for his first ever title and trophy in his career is legendary. It earned him the new nickname, “El Piojo” (which means the louse, the grump, nasty, etc.)

After the victory, El Piojo was given the reigns to the Mexican National Team and told to get them to the World Cup. After qualifying against New Zealand, “El Piojo” began to impregnate his personality into the entire team. He had fun with them, allowed them to have practice on the beach, texted and tweeted with his players, photo bombed them, took selfies with them, but most of all, earned their trust.

The ‘Mozart of Mexico’ had his greatest performance as his team’s composer last Monday against Croatia. The ‘do or die’ elimination game was pressure packed and tense for most of the match. Herrera however only needed ten minutes to see how Croatia was playing his team before he began to orchestrate the eventual victory.

He dropped Giovani dos Santos into the hole on the left of the pitch and moved Captain, Rafa Marquez up to the midfield to alter Croatia’s numbers in the middle. He played cautious and conservative for most of the first half, telling his team to be patient and wait for their time to strike.

His moves worked as Mexico started to gain momentum and dominate possession in the second half, the finishing touch on his ‘Pièce de Résistance’ came in the 62nd minute when he subbed in the struggling Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Hernandez’s confidence was at an all time low as he had not scored a goal for Mexico in over a year. “El Piojo” believed him in him however and knew that his speed and athleticism would be difficult for Croatia’s tired defenders to handle. Chicharito immediately changed the game playing a vital role in the team’s first two goals and scoring the third by himself; his first in over a year.

“El Piojo” is clearly the man of the moment at the World Cup and whether Mexico is eliminated on Sunday or not, his celebrations will be played in World Cup highlights for years to come.