We’ve looked at the players, now it’s time to look at the managers involved at Euro 2008 and find out how they got on:
Because I know you’ll ask about the grades…
A+ – Best of the tournament
A – Above expectations
B – Meeting expectations – more or less
C – Poor, not meeting expectations
D – Absolute stinker
Now, on to the good stuff:
Manager: Josef Hickersberger
Grade: B. They tried and tried and tried, but ultimately weren’t good enough. If their luck had been as good as Turkey’s they might have drawn against both Croatia and Germany and beaten Poland.
Future: Resigned after Euro 2008. No announcements on either his future or the next manager of Austria.
Manager: Slaven Bilic
Grade: B. Croatia lost to Turkey’s luck in the quarters and little of it can be blamed on Bilic. While he should have gotten his players focused back on the game, he chaperoned his side quite well to emerge from Group B undefeated. However, after the promise shown in qualification the semis were a minimum, so Bilic gets a B.
Future: Stays in charge of Croatia to help them qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
Manager: Karel Brückner
Grade: C. They topped their group in qualifying and were expected to at least progress to the quarters, probably the semis if things went their way. As it were, they were manhandled by Portugal, pushed to the limits by Switzerland and bamboozled by the Turks. A tale of missed opportunities, and Bruckner could have and should have done a lot better.
Future: Bruckner announced pre-tournament that he would resign after Euro 2008. No successor has been confirmed.
Manager: Raymond Domenech.
Grade: D. Domenech’s side were better – at least for half of the game against Holland – than their 4th place in Group C suggested. And yet they struggled. Domenech pointed the finger at a divide amongst his players but it was his job to manage the players and he made a hash of it.
Future: Most likely to be removed. Wenger isn’t coming so the most likely successor is Didier Deschamps, while Eric Cantona has been discussed as well (albeit light-heartedly, as he’s currently coaching the French beach football team).
Manager: Joachim Löw
Grade: A. He may not be the most-respected coach at the Euros or renown for his tactical nous but he did lead Germany to the Euro 2008 final. A cynic may point out that Germany’s best performance of the tournament came when Joachim was banned from the touchline, but reaching the final means we’ll overlook that for the short-run (he still has to convince us if he’s better than Klinsmann or van Basten though).
Future: Was originally signed on a 2-year contract but in the aftermath of the Euro 08 final the future is still uncertain. I’d expect him to be given a chance to continue till South Africa 2010.
Manager: Otto Rehhagel
Grade: D. Disastrous Euro campaign for Greece. After their convincing qualifying performances many expected Greece to challenge Russia and Sweden for a spot in the quarterfinals. They were out of it from the word go. Embarrassing for the reigning European champions, regardless of the quality of the side (or lack thereof).
Future: Rehhagel is signed on till 2010, and is expected to lead Greece to World Cup qualification.
Manager: Roberto Donadoni
Grade: C. Can consider himself lucky to progress to the quarterfinals with France losing their most important player (Ribery) to injury and going down to 10 men inside the first half of their crunch game. The players fought but their manage failed to inspire and the credit for Italy lasting so long goes to the players.
Future: Donadoni’s contract had a conditional extension – the condition being that Italy met certain targets for Euro 08. Donadoni couldn’t, and his contract ended post Euro 08. Lippi was reinstated as manager soon after that.
Manager: Marco van Basten
Grade: B. Marco van Basten mounted a memorable escape from the much-touted Group of Death but his achievements are tainted somewhat by the limp performance against Russia in the quarters and the under-par performances of the French and Italian teams. On paper, he took Holland to the quarters, which was expected of him as a minimum.
Future: Steps down after Euro 2008 to take charge of AFC Ajax. Bert van Marwijk, currently in charge of Feyenoord, takes over the reins as the Dutch manager.
Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari
Grade: B. Portugal were expected to get to at least the semi-finals but looked clueless against Germany. It’s the second time in 2 international competitions that Scolari has failed to beat Germany. Announcing his move to Chelsea before the game didn’t help either.
Future: Goes on to manage Chelsea next season. Portugal are still looking for a successor, with Carlos Queiroz often mentioned as a possibility (although he’s doubtful to leave United just yet).
Manager: Leo Beenhakker
Grade: C. Poland qualifying for the first time for the Euros was definitely a major achievement but once there, Poland failed to impress. You can’t fault the coach much if you look at the players at his disposal, but they would have expected them to beat Austria at least.
Future: Signed on to lead Poland till the end of 2010 World Cup qualifiers (November 2009).
Manager: Victor PiÅ£urcÄƒ.
Grade: B. Did a lot better than expected in the Group of Death, although they slipped when they needed to produce a result.
Future: Piturca stays in charge of Romania for the time being and will presumably lead them through World Cup qualifying.
Manager: Guus Hiddink
Grade: A. Russia were in a relatively tough group but qualified after a slow start. They were also up against some very good opposition in the quarters but got through thanks to some excellent leadership and tactics by Hiddink. The only blot on their copybook (and the reason Hiddink doesn’t get a A+) is their failure to learn from earlier mistakes against the Spanish, something that cost them the semifinal.
Future: Despite the constant speculation surrounding Hiddink’s future, the man is signed on till at least 2010.
Manager: Luis Aragones
Grade: A. Masterminding a talent-rich side through a tough tournament was never going to be an easy task, but Aragones was the tactical master this summer and it’s a pity that we did not get to see him match wits against Scolari and / or Marco van Basten at the Euros.
Future: Aragones has already announced that he would retire post Euro 08. Aragones is rumoured to be going to Fenerbahce (although the man himself denied the rumours during Euro 08) and Vincent Del Bosque is due to take over as Spain manager in the summer.
Manager: Lars LagerbÃ¤ck
Grade: C. It was a tough group but Sweden had as good a chance of qualification as Greece and Russia and they were ahead of Russia when the two teams met. Should have done better, although anything beyond the quarters would have been a surprising bonus.
Future: Signed on till South Africa 2010.
Manager: Kobi Kuhn
Grade: C. His team conceded a late goal to Turkey to lose a winnable game, but the manager’s mind was affected by his wife’s health (she was in a coma) and his players let him down against Turkey and against the Czechs.
Future: Kuhn retires from his post after Euro 2008 (no news on where he’ll go next) with former Bayern Munich manager Ottmar Hitzfeld takes over from July 1st 2008.
Manager: Fatih Terim
Grade: A+. Dragged his team screaming and kicking into the semi-finals on the back of 3 glorious (in retrospect at least) comebacks. Their luck ran out in the end but they never gave up thanks to their manager urging them on from the sidelines.
Future: Was linked with several European clubs but said that he would consider any offers only after Euro 2008. So far, he’s still in charge and the club reported closest to signing him on pre Euro 2008 already have their manager (Newcastle United).
Agree with the ratings? Disagree? Have an opinion on one of the managers? Sound off in the comments section below.