By, Kyle Gibson
Brazil, here we come! As the 2014 FIFA World Cup inches closer, it’s time to break down the most important factors leading into the world’s most watched sporting event. In today’s blog, I will list the Top 5 managers in the tournament. Disagree? Would your list look different? Post in the comments below!
Honorable Mention- James Kwesi Appiah: Ghana
First black coach to lead an African team to World Cup qualification.
5) Jürgen Klinsmann- USA
When he was first hired, I was not sold on Klinsmann. His leaving Bayern Munich and recent lack of coaching before his hire by the US raised some red flags, but those are now just red, white and blue flags. Klinsmann has taken America by storm recently, after a rocky start, 2013 was a transcendent for the US, with World Cup Qualification achieved well before the final games. Klinsmann makes this list as well for his 3rd place result with Germany in 2006 as the host nation. That takes a lot of dealing with pressure, which Klinsmann will need this year against a group that includes Ghana, Portugal and Germany.
4) Louis Van Gaal- Netherlands
He’s been named the manager of Manchester United, but the task at hand for Louis Van Gaal is to lead the Netherlands until the end of the World Cup. With more than 10 major trophies throughout his managerial career, including stops at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Van Gaal has experience for days.
3) Fabio Capello- Russia
Just take a look at this resume: AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, Juventus, England. Now Capello is guiding a talented Russian team intent on shocking the world. Capello’s brains and experience, combined with an easier group (South Korea, Algeria, Belgium) means Russia could easily challenge for the quarter or semifinals.
2) Luis Felipe Scolari- Brazil
Big Phil has already won a World Cup with Brazil in 2002. Now, he is poised to do the same with the Brazilians as the host nation in 2014. Scolari also has a 4th place with Portugal in 2006. An experienced manager with house money? Watch out.
1) Vicente del Bosque- Spain
Vicente del Bosque’s club career as a manager is brief, with occasional stops at Real Madrid as the highlights. However, since taking over Spain in 2008, Del Bosque has won the Euros (2008, 12) and the FIFA World Cup in 2010. The Spanish stride is still very strong and I expect del Bosque’s team to at least make the semifinals this year.