The story of the fallout among the World Cup coaches is rich, varied and in some cases undecided or unfinished. We run the rule over those who came away from Brazil with their reputations enhanced and those who couldn’t hit the beach quickly enough…
Joachim Low – His contract was extended before the tournament, a show of faith that was richly rewarded when the 54-year-old brought home Germany’s fourth World Cup crown. There were fears that Low, who took over sole charge in 2006, might follow captain Philipp Lahm into international retirement after their 1-0 win against Argentina in the final, but he has decided to stay on. “The 2014 World Cup was a highlight for all, but it was not a conclusion,” he said.
Dietmar Hamann’s Sony Team Ambassador verdict: “The semi-finals was a bare minimum and he achieved that without any fuss. After that, everything was perfect.”
Status: Still in charge of the world champions.
Louis Van Gaal – Had some ground to make up after his failure even to reach the 2002 World cup during his previous stint in charge of Holland and Van Gaal, as is his custom, didn’t disappoint. The Dutch team’s thrilling 5-1 win against holders Spain set the tone for this tournament and the big man, already installed as the new Manchester United manager, went on to enjoy his share of the limelight. Holland finished third after a 3-0 rout of Brazil, and their former coach’s Midas touch is now at work at Old Trafford.
Alessandro Nesta’s Sony Team Ambassador verdict: “Van Gaal showed he is not afraid to make changes, such as when he switched keepers for the penalty shootout win against Costa Rica. It worked.”
Status: Manchester United manager.
Alejandro Sabella – ‘From Bramall Lane to the final in Brazil’ was a line that was trotted out during the tournament to highlight the impressive career trajectory of the one-time Sheffield United midfielder. Though occasionally a figure of fun, whether banging his head on the dug-out roof, falling over on the touchline or being squirted with water by his players, his feat in taking Argentina to within a whisker of their first World Cup win since 1986 ensured his post-World Cup future has beeen the subject of great speculation.
Diego Simeone’s Sony Team Ambassador verdict: “Sabella did a lot of good work for Argentina in this competition. Bringing in Martin Demichelis was a great decision, the selection of Lucas Biglia and Enzo Perez too. The way he used Ezequiel Lavezzi to track back, the decision to keep faith with Sergio Romero and also Marcus Rojo.”
Jose Pekerman – Mocked for his failure as Argentina manager at the 2006 World Cup, when he left a teenage Lionel Messi on the bench and saw his team go out in violent fashion against, yes, Germany, Pekerman was reborn as Colombia coach and gained so much popularity while guiding them to the quarter-finals that he found himself the unwitting recipient of thousands of votes in the country’s presidential election. He didn’t actually stand, but fans and players alike want him to be re-elected as national team boss.
Brad Friedel’s Sony Team Ambassador verdict: “I thought that when he brought Mondragon on to break the record as the oldest-ever World Cup player, it was a brilliant piece of man-management. Mondragon means so much to the current playing staff that it went down very well and it was another thing that brought that Colombian team closer together.”
Luiz-Felipe Scolari – Seen as Brazil’s go-to guy, Big Phil’s stock couldn’t have been much higher in 2002 after he guided Brazil to their fifth World Cup crown. He then went on to steer hosts Portugal to the final of Euro 2004, where they lost to the unheralded Greece. A bad omen, maybe? Fast forward 10 years and the words ‘embarrassing defeat on home soil’ took on a whole new meaning.
Gaizka Mendieta’s Team Ambassador verdict: “People expected more from Brazil. It was hugely disappointing and Scolari received a lot of criticism for the way they played.”
Status: Sacked and replaced by Dunga.
Cesare Prandelli – Guided Italy to the final of Euro 2004 and had another two years on his contract post Brazil, but opted to stand down after Italy bowed out in the first round. Things had looked bright after their 2-1 opening win against England, but defeat against Costa Rica and then Uruguay cost Italy dearly. Among the team’s failings were Mario Balotelli’s missed chances against Costa Rica – a player whom Prandelli recently said “lives in a place far from reality”.
Diego Milito’s Sony Team Ambassador verdict: “Italy expected a lot from this team, that’s why Prandelli walked.”
Status: Galatasaray’s new manager.
Elsewhere, Alberto Zaccheroni (Japan) quit after woeful showing by Asian champions, as did Hong Myung-bo (South Korea). In Central America, Luis Suarez (Honduras) stepped down and Jorge Luis Pinto (Costa Rica), failed to agree a new contract despite a tremendous tournament.