Quite often, we get embroiled in the debate surrounding the players on the pitch and conveniently end up forgetting the impact that coaches have on their respective sides.
From setting up the starting lineup to preparing tactical nous to the finest details and keeping their players motivated, coaches and their support staff pretty much have to deal with everything that goes on behind the scenes.
This year’s Euro 2020 will not be short on quality when it comes to the coaches in the dugouts. From World Cup winners in Joachim Low and Didier Deschamps to a European champion in Fernando Santos, once again, some of the best footballing minds in the continent will try to outsmart each other with their strategies.
Regardless of whoever comes out on top, we are in for a treat. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five coaches ahead of Euro 2020:
JOACHIM LOW – GERMANY
Since taking over as head coach of Germany in 2006, Joachim Low has scaled the highest of heights and has seen the lowest of lows.
In his first outing at a major international tournament in Euro 2008, Low guided Germany to the final but ended up losing the title to Spain. Since then, he has managed more matches in the European Championship (17 matches, spread across three tournaments) and has won more games (11) than any other coach in history.
The highest point in Joachim Low’s coaching career obviously arrived in 2014 in Brazil where Germany seemed invincible. They made a major statement by thumping the hosts 7-1 in the semifinal of the World Cup and went on to seal success with a 1-0 win in extra-time against Messi’s Argentina in the final to grab the title.
However, Joachim Low’s attempts at revitalizing the squad since then hasn’t worked out. The defending world champions crashed out of the group stages in the 2018 World Cup after finishing last in their group. Germany have also been woeful in the recent UEFA Nations League competition, copping a 6-0 drubbing by Spain last year.
Low will leave the managerial position of Germany following the conclusion of Euro 2020, which might take the pressure off both the coach and the players. Expectations are low from Germany this time around , but Low would be hoping to end his tenure on a high.
DIDIER DESCHAMPS – FRANCE
Didier Deschamps captained France to World Cup glory in 1998 and followed that up with a spectacular victory at the European Championship in 2000. This time around, he’s hoping to do something similar from the dugout.
France steamrolled their way past teams in Russia to lift the 2018 World Cup. Deschamps became only the third footballer after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer to win the World Cup both as a player and a manager, and only the second captain to do so after Beckenbauer.
France are among the favourites to win the Euro Cup this year as well, although they have a group of death as an initial hurdle. Few other nations can match their quality and depth all over the pitch and Deschamps knows how to get the best out of his players.
FERNANDO SANTOS – PORTUGAL
Fernando Santos coached Portugal to their first ever major international tournament glory when they lifted the Euro Cup in 2016. Ronaldo and his inspirational side upset the hosts and favourites France to win the final in extra time in front of thousands of French supporters in Paris.
Portugal topped their group in the 2018-19 Nations League and qualified for the knockouts. They defeated Switzerland 3-1 in the semi-final and then got the better of Netherlands 1-0 in the final in Porto to become the first ever UEFA Nations League champions.
Despite Ronaldo reaching the twilight of his career, Portugal are stacked with exciting talent all over the pitch and it wouldn’t be surprising if they end up defending their title from five years ago.
LUIS ENRIQUE – SPAIN
During his period with Barcelona, Luis Enrique won everything that club football had to offer.
In his very first season, he helped the Catalan side conquer the elusive Treble – becoming the only club to do so twice in the history of football. He had also guided Barcelona to wins in the UEFA Super Cup and in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The former Spanish star took over the role of head coach of the national side following the 2018 World Cup and Spain have performed well under him, but he will want to leave an indelible mark in his coaching career at Euro 2020.
Luis Enrique must achieve this without any players from Real Madrid – marking a first for Spain in a major tournament. He controversially left out Real Madrid and Spain captain Sergio Ramos, and defenders Dani Carvajal and Nacho ahead of Euro 2020.
ROBERTO MANCINI – ITALY
A former star forward for his country, Robert Mancini reached the semifinals of Euro 1988 and the 1990 World Cup with Italy. Mancini has also won the Serie A both as a player and a manager.
Mancini spent five years with Manchester City between 2009 and 2013 during which he guided the club to a coveted Premier League title.
The 56-year-old was appointed as the head coach of Italy in 2018 just months after they failed to qualify for the World Cup. Under Mancini, the Azzurri had a perfect Euro qualifying campaign winning 10 times in their 10 matches!
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