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Three Notable Foreign Coaches at the 2018 World Cup

Three Notable Foreign Coaches at the 2018 World Cup
Around half of the national coaches about to pit their tactical wits against one another at the 2018 World Cup in Russia were not born in the country they are managing at the tournament.

This can be a divisive and complex issue in international football. Should a national coach actually be native? It’s further complicated by the breakup of large countries into smaller states, as notably seen in this instance with the former Yugoslavia.

While there isn’t time to discuss the credentials of all foreign managers at the 2018 World Cup, we thought we’d shine the spotlight on three.


Vladimir Petkovic

With Swiss, Croatian and Bosnian passports, Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic highlights how complex the matter of national identity is following the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Like the respective coaches of Croatia and Serbia, Zlatko Dalic and Mladen Krstajic, he was born in modern-day Bosnia-Herzegovina, yet emigrated from the former Yugoslavia in 1987 to play his football abroad.

In Switzerland, he found a new home and Petkovic coached extensively in his adopted country after hanging up his boots. He has been their national boss since after the last World Cup and following a rather unceremonious sacking by Italian Serie A side Lazio.

Petkovic has guided the Swiss to successive major tournaments and his squad’s previous showing at Euro 2016 gives them every chance of getting out of World Cup Group E. That also contains Brazil, Costa Rica, who were a surprise package four years ago, and Serbia, with Switzerland evens to advance to the knockout phase once again.

Hector Cuper

No nation on the planet accounts for more 2018 World Cup finals coaches than Argentina with four and, of that quartet, the most remarkable work has been done Hector Cuper with Egypt. Standing on a cultural crossroads between Africa and Arabia, they had only reached the tournament proper twice before.



Under Cuper, who had a far less successful foray into international management with Russian satellite state Georgia a decade ago, the Pharaohs qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in 28 years. This is in no small part due to the exploits of Liverpool’s prolific winger Mohamed Salah.

With Salah tearing it up in the Premier League, Egypt look well worth a punt in the World Cup betting odds available through Paddy Power to qualify from Group A at 6/5. This pool also contains tournament hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia, so Cuper will fancy his chances.

Bert van Marwijk


Speaking of Saudi Arabia; they were guided to these World Cup finals by former Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk, only for him to leave his post after qualification ended. He is, instead, in charge of Australia in Russia after signing a short-term deal as successor to Ange Postecoglou before Graham Arnold takes over the Socceroos.



Van Marwijk took the Dutch all the way to the World Cup final in South Africa back in 2010 but lost to Spain and Andres Iniesta’s extra-time winner. To see him back in international management on the big stage is a coup for Australia, with the Socceroos squad likely to bridge two generations.

If Van Marwijk can still get something out of veteran frontman Tim Cahill, who still possesses an aerial threat, then Australia will give France, Denmark and Peru something to think about in Group C. The Socceroos are 7/2 outsiders to advance from their pool at the World Cup finals though.
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Article Added: 11 May 2018, 11:05 pm GMT
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