Santos replaces Bento as coach of Portugal

He replaced Paulo Bento, who left by mutual consent after Portugal made a calamitous start to their Euro 2016 campaign by losing 1-0 at home to Albania.


The 59-year-old Santos was appointed even though he has to serve an eight-match touchline ban after he was sent off at the end of extra time in the World Cup second round tie against Costa Rica, which Greece lost on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

FIFA’s disciplinary tribunal said he had been guilty of “several acts of unsporting conduct towards the match officials.”

Portuguese media said that Santos had appealed against the ban, although FIFA could not be immediately reached for comment to confirm whether that was the case or when the appeal would take place.

The Portuguese coach spent four years in charge of Greece and also guided them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 where they lost to Germany.

Santos left his post the day after Greece were eliminated from the World Cup, having decided before the competition not to renew his contract.

“Fernando Santos, 59, is the new national team coach. Santos, the former head coach of Greece, will be presented to the media at 12.30 on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Portuguese Football Federation,” a statement on the FPF website said.

Portugal are next in action on Oct. 11 when they meet France in a friendly in Paris before travelling to Denmark for their second Euro 2016 qualifier three days later.

In his own words, Santos, who has a degree in electrical and telecommunications engineering and is known as the Engineer, believes in “tactics first, technical ability second.”

If Santos’ ban stands, he will have to sit out the entire Euro 2016 qualifying campaign plus the first match of the final tournament itself.

He has coached all of Portugal’s so-called big three clubs, Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon, although his only league title was with Porto. He has also coached AEK Athens, PAOK and Panathinaikos in Greece.

He has plenty of work on his plate in trying to renovate a team which critics say has become too dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo.

Although Portugal reached the Euro 2012 semi-finals, the team has stagnated since then and only qualified for the World Cup thanks to an inspirational evening from Ronaldo which helped beat Sweden in a playoff.

Ronaldo was unable to repeat the trick at the World Cup itself and Portugal went out in the group stage, never recovering from losing their first game 4-0 to Germany.

Even Bento’s critics admitted that Portugal have been struggling to replenish their talent pool, with a plethora of South American and East European imports dominating top sides such as Benfica and Porto and barring the way for young home-grown players.

He has taken on a job which former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said always ended in “humiliation.”

“I’ve watched men such as Jose Maria Pedroto, Juca, Mario Wilson, (Jose) Torres, (Humberto) Coelho, Artur Jorge and now Paulo Bento be tortured, offended and humiliated in an unjust manner,” he said earlier this month, referring to former Portugal coaches.

“All the Portuguese coaches, who reached the national team on merit and on the credit they built up in Portuguese football, left through the side door with virtually no future in terms of football.”

(Reporting By Michael Hann, additional reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Martyn Herman, Neville Dalton)

Posted by at 26/05/2019
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