Power Ranking All 32 World Cup Managers

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJuly 16, 2014

Power Ranking All 32 World Cup Managers

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    Welcome to B/R's definitive ranking of all 32 managers involved in the FIFA World Cup 2014.

    We've ordered them based on their tactical and managerial performance over the course of the tournament, with expectations, squad strength and realistic outlook all considered.

    Did your nation's string-puller excite and delight in Brazil like Jorge Luis Pinto or underwhelm in dramatic fashion like Safet Susic?

32. Volker Finke, Cameroon

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    Why Volker Finke Succeeded

    No reasons apply.

     

    Why Volker Finke Failed

    Was he even the manager? At times—such as during the pre-match huddles—it was Samuel Eto'o who did the talking, not Finke.

    His tactics in the first game were shocking, and they didn't get much better. Seeing Cedric Djeugoue lit up by Miguel Layun was not fun. Finke also had a tendency to stick very similar players into multiple roles.

    Picking Eto'o ahead of Vincent Aboubakar in the first game was very questionable.

31. Alberto Zaccheroni, Japan

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    Why Alberto Zaccheroni Succeeded

    No reasons apply.

     

    Why Alberto Zaccheroni Failed

    Japan were dreadful despite promising so much, looking very suspect at both ends of the pitch. They started well against Ivory Coast but tailed off dramatically. Their pressing was poor, and their possession game fell apart as the tournament went on.

    Zaccheroni needed a proper striker and two proper centre-backs; the best players, by some margin, were the industrious full-backs.

30. Fabio Capello, Russia

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    Why Fabio Capello Succeeded

    No reasons apply.

     

    Why Fabio Capello Failed

    To be eliminated by Algeria and South Korea was not in the FIFA World Cup plan for Russia, but their drab play and directionless outlook deserved a group-stage exit.

    Capello refused to start Alexander Kerzhakov, refused to start Alan Dzagoev and tried to play the same system sans Roman Shirokov despite the fact that his captain's absence rendered it toothless.

29. Paulo Bento, Portugal

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    Why Paulo Bento Succeeded

    There really wasn't anything successful about Portugal's campaign. It was one of the worst in history.

     

    Why Paulo Bento Failed

    Bento pressed ahead with the hulking Hugo Almeida up front initially, then switched to Eder, who was no better. Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't fit but played anyway, and the team were too focused on giving him the ball no matter the option or position.

    Bento chickened out of playing William Carvalho in midfield until he had to move his beloved Miguel Veloso out to cover at left-back, and once William was in everything looked a lot better.

28. Luis Fernando Suarez, Honduras

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    Why Luis Fernando Suarez Succeeded

    Honduras were not humiliated during the FIFA World Cup despite the obvious drop-off in talent between themselves and the rest of the competition.

     

    Why Luis Fernando Suarez Failed

    At times it looked more like the UFC than organised football, with Hondurans frequently flying into challenges and walking the disciplinary tight rope.

    The defensive 4-4-2 was a little asinine at times, and the Central American side could well have done with another body in midfield occasionally.

27. Hong Myung-Bo, South Korea

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    Why Hong Myung-Bo Succeeded

    Hong identified his key performers during qualifying and played to their strengths, allowing Ki Sung-Yueng to dictate play and find Son Heung-Min with long diagonals often.

     

    Why Hong Myung-Bo Failed

    The organisation defensively was shambolic, the midfield was easy to bypass using power and drive, and the striking situation was absolutely horrific.

    There were a paucity of options up front, sure, but why Hong stuck with Park Chu-Young so readily is a mystery.

26. Roy Hodgson, England

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    Why Roy Hodgson Succeeded

    But for cruel luck and a bad day at the office from Daniel Sturridge, Hodgson had Costa Rica tactically beaten and remains unfortunate not to come away with the win.

     

    Why Roy Hodgson Failed

    He diverted from the 4-3-3 to the 4-2-3-1 at the last second pre-tournament, leaving Steven Gerrard in a position where he could not excel. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Claudio Marchisio and Antonio Candreva took full advantage.

    Hodgson's insistence in playing Wayne Rooney no matter the position was highly criticised.

25. Vicente del Bosque, Spain

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    Why Vicente del Bosque Succeeded

    The intention to play good football and continue Spain's recent tradition was there, and but for a David Silva miss at 1-0 against the Netherlands, they could have been waltzing through the rounds.

     

    Why Vicente del Bosque Failed

    The 3-0 win over Australia showed us everything that's been so successful—yet missing!—from La Furia Roja's play: a David Villa-esque presence from the left drifting into the striker's area, Andres Iniesta strictly between the lines, and moving the ball far quicker through Koke, not Xavi.

24. Niko Kovac, Croatia

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    Why Niko Kovac Succeeded

    Croatia played very well against Brazil and allowed their wingers to attack the space left by Dani Alves and Marcelo. They were unlucky to lose.

     

    Why Niko Kovac Failed

    Croatia love a playmaker or four, and Kovac failed to unlock the best from his creative talents. Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic should have been the heartbeat of the team, but they ended the tournament after three games, looking a little ineffectual.

23. Safet Susic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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    Why Safet Susic Succeeded

    He got the balance right, finally, in the third game against Iran and allowed Miralem Pjanic and Muhamed Besic to run the game. Toni Sunjic, drafted in for the second game, was their best defender.

     

    Why Safet Susic Failed

    Considering the talent available to him, Susic massively underwhelmed. Bosnia and Herzegovina fans will point to Edin Dzeko's wrongly disallowed goal and Sead Kolasinac's unfortunate own goal, but the Dragons should have been far better.

    Tactical and managerial failings aplenty.

22. Sabri Lamouchi, Ivory Coast

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    Why Sabri Lamouchi Succeeded

    Exercising self-restraint with an aging Didier Drogba was gutsy but fair, and identifying Serge Aurier as a rapier-like threat down the right helped Ivory Coast gain ground.

     

    Why Sabri Lamouchi Failed

    Bar the second 45 minutes against Japan, they looked a little clueless on balance. Yaya Toure underperformed/wasn't fit. Aurier turned out to be the only attacking outlet on show.

21. Kwesi Appiah, Ghana

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    Why Kwesi Appiah Succeeded

    It's difficult to support Ghana's campaign in any way, but grabbing a point off Germany and seeing Asamoah Gyan break the African World Cup goalscoring record is a positive.

     

    Why Kwesi Appiah Failed

    Group G was tough, and these circumstances often throw up odd results, but for Ghana to finish at the bottom with just a point is a failure.

    They focused all of their attacking energies down to the right-sided Christian Atsu, but his bad decision-making ruined the flow of play.

20. Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil

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    Why Luiz Felipe Scolari Succeeded

    The deployment of the 4-2-3-1 was well done, and Luiz Gustavo thrived in the midfield engine room. Scolari had the cojones to drop Dani Alves for Maicon following poor form.

     

    Why Luiz Felipe Scolari Failed

    He deferred from his usual attacking midfield setup of Neymar-Oscar-Hulk (left to right), and the chemistry of the team was destroyed. It took an age to drop the underperforming Paulinho, and Marcelo didn't give way until the final match.

    Scolari was typically stubborn throughout.

19. Ange Postecoglou, Australia

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    Why Ange Postecoglou Succeeded

    With the 2015 Asia Cup firmly in sight, Postecoglou's World Cup should be viewed as a strong sounding board for future progression.

    The pass-and-move football and buildup play from deep was promising, the wingers played very well, and just a little more (consistent) creativity in the middle could see this side dominate their own continent very soon.

     

    Why Ange Postecoglou Failed

    No matter the shoots of recovery, Australia lost all three matches with a minus-six goal difference. That's never fun.

18. Cesare Prandelli, Italy

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    Why Cesare Prandelli Succeeded

    The FIFA World Cup seemed a little harsh on Prandelli.

    He got through a tough game against England with a victory but lost, cruelly, to Costa Rica as none of his players were able to stay onside. The loss to Uruguay will be a sore point for "other" reasons entirely.

     

    Why Cesare Prandelli Failed

    Prandelli was unfortunate, but pairing Ciro Immobile and Mario Balotelli together—two players who play in exactly the same position with the same intentions—for the crunch clash against Uruguay was a big mistake.

17. Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay

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    Why Oscar Tabarez Succeeded

    Tabarez got through a horrifying Group D in typical Tabarez fashion, grinding it out with trusted players and changing formation with frequency.

    That he reached the round of 16 with rookies such as Jose Maria Gimenez in the side is a feat.

     

    Why Oscar Tabarez Failed

    Two games with Luis Suarez, two wins; two games without, two losses. Dependence?

16. Carlos Queiroz, Iran

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    Why Carlos Queiroz Succeeded

    Queiroz understood his team's limitations from the start and tailored a specific game plan to stifle and frustrate Group F.

    He shut out Nigeria and came within seconds of halting Lionel Messi. But he came undone against Bosnia and Herzegovina as he was forced to come out and attack a little.

     

    Why Carlos Queiroz Failed

    It's difficult to criticise a limited Iranian side, considering how well they acquitted themselves, but the Persian Stars left the tournament without unlocking the best in Javad Nekounam. In fact, the playmaker and national legend was poor throughout.

15. Stephen Keshi, Nigeria

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    Why Stephen Keshi Succeeded

    Nigeria advanced from a tough group and gave France a game, and while the tactics weren't always spot on, Keshi's man-management was excellent.

    The Super Eagles overcame a series of injuries to battle through four games.

     

    Why Stephen Keshi Failed

    That 0-0 draw against Iran will haunt both manager and player; Keshi threw on Shola Ameobi and reverted to "lump-it" football far too early.

14. Ottmar Hitzfeld, Switzerland

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    Why Ottmar Hitzfeld Succeeded

    Switzerland started slowly, but Hitzfeld tweaked his side as the competition went on to maximise their production. That included dropping Valentin Stocker, bringing Xherdan Shaqiri inside to the No. 10 role and changing strikers where necessary.

    They were, arguably, the better side against Argentina and were unfortunate to go out in the round of 16.

     

    Why Ottmar Hitzfeld Failed

    He failed to get the best out of a few players—namely Stephan Lichtsteiner and Granit Xhaka—and quizzically sent on Philippe Senderos over Fabian Schar when Steve von Bergen went down.

13. Reinaldo Rueda, Ecuador

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    Why Reinaldo Rueda Succeeded

    Rueda played exclusively to his side's strengths and impressed during the FIFA World Cup.

    Playing Enner Valencia inside was great. Ecuador focused on their speed on the counterattack, good crossing from the wide areas and obvious set-piece prowess.

     

    Why Reinaldo Rueda Failed

    It was a shame to see Rueda play Enner Valencia as the target man in the final game, dropping Michael Arroyo into his regular role off the front man. It reduced his effectiveness.

12. Fernando Santos, Greece

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    Why Fernando Santos Succeeded

    Greece advanced to the knockout stages for the first time in their history and did so trying to play better football.

    The clean sheet against Japan, despite going down to 10 men, was a turning point in the players' expectations and approaches to the tournament.

     

    Why Fernando Santos Failed

    He did not completely eradicate the defensive strain from his side, with the players appearing visibly terrified of passing the ball forward or working the channels.

11. Marc Wilmots, Belgium

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    Why Marc Wilmots Succeeded

    Wilmots' great substitutions carried Belgium to the quarter-finals, as he rectified starting XI mistakes early and allowed his side to claim four wins from five games.

     

    Why Marc Wilmots Failed

    The disconnect between the defensive line (plus Axel Witsel) and the attacking players was staggering, and Belgium never truly felt like a team.

    They struggled against low blocks because they moved the ball too ponderously.

10. Jurgen Klinsmann, USA

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    Why Jurgen Klinsmann Succeeded

    Klinsmann overcame the early setback of losing star striker Jozy Altidore to emerge from a really tough Group G. He had to change his formation from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1, play players out of position and rely on the team spirit.

    All things considered, the USA did exceptionally well.

     

    Why Jurgen Klinsmann Failed

    It's very difficult to support the open game plan Klinsmann used during the round-of-16 defeat to Belgium. Sitting off and stifling would have been the best choice, as it was against Germany, Portugal and Ghana, but for some reason they went into attack mode.

9. Vahid Halilhodzic, Algeria

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    Why Vahid Halilhodzic Succeeded

    Halilhodzic made history by taking Algeria to their first-ever FIFA World Cup knockout-stage berth, defeating South Korea and drawing with Russia to ensure passage.

    He chopped and changed his formation and squad like no other—Liassine Cadamuro the only outfield player not to grab a minute—and tailored each game plan to the opponent.

    He was not afraid to drop bigger names for the sake of the system.

     

    Why Vahid Halilhodzic Succeeded

    He was a wild success, and the Algerian journalists that lambasted him at every chance feel rather silly now that he's left, victorious, to a job in the Turkish leagues.

8. Jorge Sampaoli, Chile

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    Why Jorge Sampaoli Succeeded

    Chile were a delight to watch, and Sampaoli moved seamlessly from 4-3-3 to 3-4-3 mid-tournament, enhancing his side's outlook and broadening their horizons.

    They outplayed all four of their opponents in stretches but were hit with key injuries that slowed them up. If Arturo Vidal had been fit, you just wonder how far they could have gone.

     

    Why Jorge Sampaoli Failed

    The issue Chile had pre-tournament—failing to win games they dominate—reared its ugly head once again. Some of these players outperform their own standing under "Samp," but sometimes it's not quite enough.

7. Miguel Herrera, Mexico

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    Why Miguel Herrera Succeeded

    The 3-5-2 system Herrera used masked the weaknesses of his players and brought their strengths to the fore, with the likes of Rafa Marquez, Miguel Layun, Juan Jose Vazquez and more all thriving.

    Giovani dos Santos and Oribe Peralta played well up front together, Herrera had the fortitude not to give in and start Javier Hernandez and the overall approach was exciting, entertaining and positive.

     

    Why Miguel Herrera Failed

    Mexico failed to advance to the quarter-final stage again despite having the Netherlands in the palm of their hand. Arjen Robben's questionable actions led to the spot-kick that decided the game, though.

6. Alejandro Sabella, Argentina

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    Why Alejandro Sabella Succeeded

    Sabella tried the whole possession thing but ended up abandoning it, realising that this team were better off counter-attacking at pace through their quick, agile outlets.

    He coaxed excellent performances from Ezequiel Garay, Martin Demichelis, Marcos Rojo and Javier Mascherano. 

     

    Why Alejandro Sabella Failed

    Sabella seemed categorically unable to get the best out of any of his forwards not named Messi, with Angel Di Maria in particular underperforming.

5. Jose Pekerman, Colombia

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    Why Jose Pekerman Succeeded

    Despite a creaking defence, suspect full-backs and an injury to star striker Radamel Falcao, Colombia went on a remarkable run and bowed out to hosts Brazil in tough circumstances.

    Pekerman's 4-2-2-2/4-2-3-1 chopping worked a treat, James Rodriguez's ability was unlocked, and the goals flowed. Even Mario Yepes, 38 years of age, played brilliantly.

     

    Why Jose Pekerman Failed

    With Abel Aguilar struggling with an injury ahead of the quarter-final, Fredy Guarin was the wrong choice as a replacement. Colombia need two true defensive midfield shields, and Alexander Mejia played just fine against the Ivory Coast.

4. Didier Deschamps, France

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    Why Didier Deschamps Succeeded

    Deschamps played to all of his players' strengths, with every single individual picked allowed to do what they do best at club level. The centre-back duo was balanced, as was the full-back duo. The wingers were creative and the midfielders powered forward.

    He also had the strength to push ahead with Antoine Griezmann on the left and not call up Samir Nasri in place of the injured Franck Ribery.

     

    Why Didier Deschamps Failed

    France ran into a brick-wall defence against Germany in the quarter-final, and they were unable to score when the dribbling threat of Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi was nullified in tight spaces.

3. Jorge Luis Pinto, Costa Rica

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    Why Jorge Luis Pinto Succeeded

    Costa Rica played defensive, sturdy football to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2014, but as soon as the finals started they kicked into gear and began attacking.

    The result was a 5-4-1 formation that was absurdly difficult to conquer yet also had offensive edge. Nearly every single one of Pinto's regular starters performed superbly, and they got to the quarter-finals despite losing two sure starters pre-tournament: Alvaro Saborio (CF) and Bryan Oviedo (LWB).

     

    Why Jorge Luis Pinto Failed

    No reasons apply.

2. Louis van Gaal, Netherlands

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    Why Louis van Gaal Succeeded

    Given the squad he had at his disposal and the key injury to Kevin Strootman ahead of the competition, Van Gaal did a marvelous job. This was no classic Dutch footballing crop; it was a midfield-less group who gave their all.

    The decision to switch to 3-5-2 (or three-man variants) pre-tournament paid off handsomely, with Stefan de Vrij, Daley Blind and Ron Vlaar among his best performers.

     

    Why Louis van Gaal Failed

    Very little criticism can be leveled at Van Gaal, but perhaps his persistence with the underperforming Wesley Sneijder can be scrutinised. Then again, who else is there?

1. Joachim Low, Germany

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    Why Joachim Low Succeeded

    Well, to start with, Low won the FIFA World Cup; that's a real bonus. He also managed the feat with a right-footed centre-back at left-back, a right-back in midfield, and sans one incredible important attacking option: Marco Reus.

    He adjusted his setup superbly as the tournament ticked by and utilised his squad brilliantly.

     

    Why Joachim Low Failed

    It looked a little ropy for a moment in the round of 16, with Germany's ridiculously high defensive line (with Per Mertesacker involved) getting ransacked by Algeria.