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Sports Then and Now

Preparing for the World Cup: World Cup Coach Trip

Posted on April 28, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Franz Beckenbauer won the World Cup as a player and a coach.

Plenty is known about the big players at this year’s World Cup, but what about the coaches? The men in charge have a vital role to play, as there is little between the potential winners and the tactical nous of the managers might prove crucial.

Bitter rivals Brazil and Argentina are united by their coaches. Virtually all of the other main challengers have experienced managers with extensive club management behind them, but in Dunga and Diego Maradona, the South Americans have leaders who are in their first serious management post.

Legendary national careers were seemingly enough to persuade the men in suits that the former World Cup-winning captains could emulate Franz Beckenbauer in lifting the trophy as player and then as a rookie manager.

Dunga has the better chance of securing this special double and, not least because his is the more complete team. The World Cup odds reflect this. However, Brazil are more fancied partly because of the calm leadership of the coach, who has four years experience in the post and knows his squad inside out.

Joachim Low has also been in charge of his team since 2006, suggesting this might be his one and only chance to lift the World Cup. He has the highest win percentage of any German coach, so he might get another chance in 2014. Experienced and tactically astute, Germany have the ideal man in charge.

Wily Italians Fabio Capello and Marcello Lippi have won everything there is to win in club football, but the similarities end there. Lippi won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and knows what is needed to go all the way in the big one, whereas Capello is in his first tournament as a national boss. This will not concern England’s followers, who know they now have a manager who commands respect to go with his coaching expertise, indeed the side have attracted more than one free online bet.

The same cannot necessarily be said of Raymond Domenech, France’s eccentric boss. His success in taking France to the final four years ago has not been enough to endear himself to a home press pack that derides his often bizarre selections and interest in astrology.

Spain and Netherlands have experienced, respected coaches in Vicente del Bosque and Bert van Marwijk who have both taken to national management well after impressive club careers.

Seven Goran Eriksson, Pim Verbeek, Lars Lagerback and Paul Le Guen are on the list of other experienced coaches looking forward to pitting their wit against the best in the business.

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