Greece have appointed former Chelsea and Monaco manager Claudio Ranieri as the new manager following the departure of Fernando Santos. The 62-year-old has managed to some of the top clubs in the world like Chelsea, Roma, Inter Milan, and Monaco in the last decade. He will bring a lot of experience to the Greek team that only narrowly failed to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup. They were knocked out at the last 16 stage in a match that also saw the departure of Santos. The Portuguese was appointed in 2010 and he had been in charge for the last four years. During this period, he had a 53.1% win percentage, which is amongst the best in recent times.
Romanian Anghel Iordănescu who was in charge of the team for a short period of seven matches had a slightly better win percentage, but one has to go slightly ahead of him to the Kostas Polychroniou to find a win percentage closer to that of Santos’ reign. As a result, Ranieri will be under huge pressure to follow a man who has achieved a lot with the Greek national team. He will be starting his first match against Romania in Euro 2016 qualifying match. Other opponents in the group are Northern Ireland, Finland, Hungary, and Faroe Islands.
“Claudio Ranieri signed a two-year contract with the Greek football federation and is the new coach of the national team. The Italian coach, with service at many major European clubs, is expected to lead our group to new successes with Euro 2016 on the horizon,” said the Greek football Association in a statement. Last season, Ranieri guided Monaco to second place finish in the French league despite having achieved promotion only in the summer. This was not enough, as the big spending French team sacked him almost immediately.
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Fabio Capello has tried to blame a few incidents for Russia’s World Cup exit at the group stage in a move that has been heavily criticised. Russia were on the verge of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup, but they needed to get a victory against Algeria in the final group match. Capello’s men, however, could only manage 1-1 draw in the match, and as a result, bowed out of the competition. Since the Euro 2008, Russia have not been performing well in major international tournaments and the trend has continued with the World Cup 2014 as well.
Despite this, Capello maintained that pressure played extremely well in the match. He pointed out to the laser beam that was pointed at the eye of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev as the reason for the goal that they conceded. Russia had taken the lead as early as in the sixth minute through Kokorin. Like every other Capello team, they went into defensive mode since then. The Europeans ultimately paid the ultimate price in the 60th minute when Algeria equalised from a set piece. This is likely to infuriate the Russian top officials, who have already been of the opinion that Capello is receiving a lot of salary.
The former England manager is believed to be earning more than £ 6 million per year. “We played an excellent game. I qualified your national team to the World Cup and European Championships. We reached the last 16 [in South Africa] and it was because of us that goalline technology came in. The figures say I did a pretty good job. OK? Russia had also not qualified for the World Cup in 12 years,” said Capello.
He also said that he is happy to stay as the national team manager of Russia if the Russian Federation wants him.
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