In more than nine decades of history related to FIFA World Cup, 20 technical directors have helped their team become a champion. Only one of them, Italian Vittorio Pozzo, has won two titles; while Mario Zagallo, Didier Deschamps and Franz Beckenbauer conquered the crown as players and coaches. What other names would be included on the Top 10 Coaches in World Cups? PanamericanWorld proposes an approach to the successful careers of men that guided their teams up to the top of the most universal sport.
Italy (World Cup champion in 1934-1938)
Italy organized the 1934 World Cup, surrounded by the paroxysm of fascism established by Benito Mussolini. The local team had to win the tournament at all costs, because everybody was aware of the danger entailed by failing to comply with the plans of “Il Duce”, who wanted to use the Cup as an advertising platform for his regime. Czechoslovakia was about to spoil the celebrations when Puc gave visitors the lead in the 76th minute. The situation changed when Orsi tied the game. In the 95th minute, Schiavio scored the winning goal for Italy.
Four years later, in France 1938, Pozzo was still the TD and the azzurris’ win was easier. They defeated Brazil in the semifinal and, in the battle for the crown, they prevailed over Hungary, 4-2, with two goals delivered by Silvio Piola. So, Pozzo’s name was written in history as the only coach that has conquered two World Cup titles. Moreover, this Coach also won the Olympic tournament hosted by Berlin.
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Brazil (World Cup champion as a player in 1958-1962 and coach in 1970)
“The Wolf” Zagallo was the first man to win a World Cup as a player and coach. With “Canarinha” he got the Jules Rimet trophy in Sweden 1958 and Chile 1962. Afterwards, in 1970, he became technical director of his country’s team, after João Saldanha’s resignation. That team has been described as one of the most complete groups of all time and it was flawless in 1970 Mexico World Cup, by winning the six games and totaling 19 goals. Zagallo was also leading the “Canarinha” in the 1974 World Cup, hosted by Germany, but there were no medals because Brazil finished fourth.
Two decades later, Zagallo returned as assistant of director Carlos Alberto Parreira, in the 1994 US edition, where “Canarinha” conquered its fourth championship. In the 1998 Cup, Zagallo was back at the helm and guided Brazil through the last game; nevertheless, he could not reach Pozzo because France defeated the South American team, 3-0.
Germany (World Cup champion as a player in 1974 and technical director in 1990)
German Beckenbauer joined Zagallo in the select club of world champions as both player and technical director. In the 1974 Cup, the “Kaiser” was the mastermind behind the attack that defeated Johan Cruyff’s so-called “Mechanic Orange” in the game for the title. Beckenbauer was the main coach of the German team that made it to the final of the Mexico Cup, in 1986, against Argentina.
The “Kaiser” did not keep a pleasant memory of that game, because the South American team won the game 3-2. The situation was different four years later, since the German team prevailed over Maradona’s Argentina, 1-0, thanks to a penalty taken by Andreas Brehme.
CARLOS ALBERTO PARREIRA
Brazil (World Cup champion in 1994)
This Brazilian athlete is the TD with the highest number of World Cups: six. Moreover, he shares with Serbian Bora Milutinovic the record of coaching five different teams, although, unlike the European TD, he was a World Cup champion with one of them, Brazil, in 1994. The South American coach led Kuwait, in 1982 (in tie and two defeats); Saudi Arabia, in 1990 (three setbacks) and 1998 (one tie and two failures); Brazil twice: in 1994, when it was the champion in a final decided by penalties and, in 2006, the “Canarinha” was taken out by France in quarterfinals. His last participation in a World Cup took place in 2010, guiding South Africa, but they did not make it to the second round.
CARLOS SALVADOR BILARDO
Argentina (World Cup champion in 1986)
This director was a World Cup champion in the Cup hosted by Mexico in 1986. He was in front of a team that was moved by an inspired leader, Diego Armando Maradona, who played against England and scored two of the most famous goals in World Cups. In 1990 Italy, Bilardo guided Argentina up to the final against unified Germany, but “Pelusa” could not repeat his previous feat and the Germans took their revenge.
Germany (World Cup champion in 2014)
Löw has great merit for taking the German team back to the soccer summit, after a decade of ostracism, 1996-2006. In the 2010 World Cup, the Germans made to the semifinal, but they fell against Spain, 1-0, although they later conquered the bronze by prevailing over Uruguay. In 2014, in Brazil, the German team did a great job and defeated Argentina in the final, 1-0, with Mario Gotze’s goal in overtime. That was how Löw became the fourth German TD to hold the champion trophy.
LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI
Brazil (World Cup champion in 2002)
Scolari was a TD in three World Cups. In 2002, he won the edition held in Korea-Japan, in front on spectacular Brazil, with Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima playing the leading role; afterwards, in 2006, he was in charge of Portugal and finished fourth, after losing the semifinal against France and the fight for the third position, against Germany.
In 2014, the Brazilian team trusted in the veteran coach that had won the Confederations Cup; nonetheless, things went wrong in the World Cup and Germany humiliated Brazil, 7-1, and the wound got worse by Holland’s 3-0.
VICENTE DEL BOSQUE
Spain (World Cup champion in 2010)
Del Bosque was given, in 2008, the responsibility of leading the most talented generation of Iberian players. The results were spectacular: he won the European Football Championship in 2012 and South Africa World Cup, in 2010. The farewell was not that good, because the “Red Fury” was surprisingly eliminated in the first stage of the 2014 Cup, in Brazil, and it barely made it to the round before quarterfinals in the 2016 European Football Championship; anyway, “Bigotón” left a huge mark: he got 87 wins, 10 ties and only suffered 17 defeats in eight years in front of the Spanish team.
CÉSAR LUIS MENOTTI
Argentina (World Cup champion in 1978)
“Flaco” Menotti commanded Argentina in two World Cups in a row. In 1978, the white and sky blue team won the Cup, after prevailing over Holland in overtime, 3-1, with two goals by Mario Alberto Kempes. Afterwards, in Spain 1982, with Maradona in the lineup, the Argentinean team were eliminated in the second round. All in all, “Flaco” directed the team in 12 World Cup games, with a seven wins, one tie and four defeats.
This “citizen of the world” holds a record that seems to be unbeatable: he consecutively led five different teams from three continents in World Cups. He made his debut in Mexico, 1986, and took the locals to quarterfinals. In the 1990 Cup, he was working with Costa Rica and the team went up to the round before quarterfinals. Four years later, the US Federation trusted in the Serbian to lead the local team in the 1994 World Cup. The US team performance there was great and played in the round before quarterfinals, but they fell against the champion, Brazil, 1-0.
Milutinovic’s streak continued in Nigeria, in 1998. The Africans won the group in that Cup, but they were eliminated in the next phase by Denmark. Bora’s farewell from World Cups took place in 2002. In that edition, he was coaching China and, although he could not go up in the group, he left a pleasant image in the memory of Chinese fans, since it was the only time the most populated country on the planet played a World Cup.