Three Managerial Casualties From World Cup Qualifying
Every manager in the world knows that the price of failure is losing your job. At international level, the margins for error are thin, especially in World Cup qualifying.
As the regular route to Brazil ended this week, here are three coaches now looking for work:
Croatia are still in with a shout of making it to the World Cup. They face a playoff next month, however, after being way behind Belgium in UEFA Group A.
Second place simply wasn’t good enough for former Derby County playing favourite Stimac. He offered his resignation, citing a lack of support. Croatian federation president and old international teammate Davor Suker accepted it.
What did for Stimac were consecutive qualifying defeats at home. Zagreb’s Maksimir has always been a fortress. Belgium, specifically the in-form Romelu Lukaku, delivered the deathblow. Lowly Scotland doing an unlikely double damaged Croatia’s chances too.
Another old teammate Niko Kovac has taken over the reins from Stimac. He may illicit a response from the squad in the playoffs. Croatia will be a dangerous draw as they seem to be something of a wounded animal.
Like Stimac above, former Poland coach Fornalik lasted just 15 months in charge. Defeat in Ukraine for the Euro 2012 co-hosts ended their chances of qualifying
Poland still came to Wembley intent on derailing England though. Desperate defending ultimately gave out in each half as Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard scored to send the 1966 winners through.
Losing here 40 years on after denying the Three Lions a World Cup place proved the last straw and Fornalik was sacked. The Polish FA do not appear to have a replacement lined up, however, and so for now the situation remains vacant.
There is something of an imbalance about Poland. It’s a problem Fornalik inherited and he passes it on to whoever his successor may be. Clean sheets are only kept against the minnows and in the bigger games this detracts from their undisputed talent going forward.
Victor Manuel Vucetich
Reports out of Mexico are sketchy, but it appears the Aztecs are looking for their fourth coach of the year after giving Vucetich the elbow after just two matches.
The Mexico national job has become like a fair-weather friend in recent years: good to have when you’re winning, but when the going gets tough you cannot count on keeping it.
Far from a vintage qualifying campaign, Mexico can still make the World Cup if they come through an intercontinental playoff with New Zealand next month.
Miguel Herrera, the Club America coach, is expected to be at the helm for those games. The Mexican federation might as well just give him a contract for November though because if he loses history shows he’ll simply be discarded like his predecessors.
Vucetich meanwhile can feel hard done by. Mexico may not have gone through qualifying automatically, but the playoffs a step short of disaster for a fanatical football nation.