Greatest Soccer World Cup Managers

Vittorio Pozzo

Vittorio Pozzo led Italy to World Cup victories in both 1934 and 1938 and remains the only manager in history to win the World Cup on two occasions. Pozzo had a number of stints in charge of the Italian side, but his most memorable tenure started in 1929 and he led Italy to victory in the 1930 Central European International Cup soon after taking the job. The Turin native led Italy to 1934 World Cup on their home sole and the Azzuri survived a number of close scares, including a controversial draw with Spain in the quarter-finals, to take home the crown.

Italy, under the care of Pozzo, won the Soccer tournament at the 1936 Olympics and produced an almost flawless performance in the 1938 World Cup to become the first country to win back-to-back editions of the Soccer World Cup. Pozzo remains the most successful manager in World Cup history and is considered the father of The Metodo formation.

Alf Ramsey

The late Alf Ramsey remains one of the most popular figures in the history of English Football and is the only manager to lead England to World Cup glory. Ramsey took over as England Manager in 1963 and immediately stated that England would win the 1966 World Cup on their home soil.

England made a slow start to their campaign, but managed to progress from their Group with wins over Mexico and France before scoring narrow wins over Argentina and Portugal to reach the final. West Germany took the English side to extra time in the final, but England was able to prevail thanks to a Geoff Hurst hat trick.

Ramsey led England to the 1970 World Cup, but was sacked after the side failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup. Ramsey passed away in 1998 and is stilled considered the greatest English Soccer manager of all time.

Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer was one of the greatest football players of his generation, leading West Germany to World Cup glory as captain in 1974, and took over as coach of the German national team in 1984. The Beckenbauer-led West Germany side went into the 1986 Soccer World Cup as one of the favourites, but struggled their way through the Group stages before edging their way to the final against Argentina where they were narrowly defeated by a Diego Maradona-led Argentina.

Beckenbauer led the West German side to the World Cup in Italy four years later and the side avenged their loss to Argentina in the final to make Beckenbauer the first person in history to win the World Cup as both a captain and a manager. Beckenbauer resigned as German coach after their World Cup victory and went on to head the successful German bid for to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Rinus Michels

Rinus Michels is considered one of the greatest managers in history not to win a FIFA World Cup and is rated one of the most innovative mangers in the history of football. Michels took the Netherlands to the World Cup in 1974 and, playing his total football system, were the clear favourites to take out the title. The Netherlands cruised through the tournament, playing an extremely attractive brand of football, and took an early lead against Germany in the final, but ended up going down 2-1.

Michels stood down as national coach following the World Cup defeat, but returned to the job in 1984 before leading the Dutch to their maiden major  international tournament win at Euro 1988. While Michels, does not have the extensive World Cup resume of some of his rivals he is without a doubt one of the most influential managers in the history of football.

Guus Hiddink

Guus Hiddink has never won the FIFA World Cup or even made the final, but his achievements with a number of smaller footballing nations have made him one of the most sought after managers in the world. Hiddink made his World Cup debut as manager when he led The Netherlands to the 1998 World Cup and the Dutch went all the way to the semi-finals, playing an attractive brand of football, before they were eliminated on penalties by Brazil.

The Dutchmen was given the tough job of leading an inexperienced South Korean side to the World Cup on their home soil in 2002 and did a brilliant job turning the unfancied squad into a force to be reckoned with. South Korea upset Portugal, Italy and Spain on the way to the semi-finals in what was easily their most successful World Cup campaign in their history.

Hiddink went to his third straight World Cup in charge of a third different side when he led Australia to their first World Cup in 28 years in 2006. Australia managed to get out of a tough group that featured Japan, Croatia and Brazil and were an excellent chance of upsetting Italy in the second round before the Italians were awarded a controversial penalty that knocked the Australians out of the tournament. Hiddink missed the 2010 World Cup with Russia, but is expected to return to his role as Dutch Manager at the conclusion of this year’s tournament.

Luiz Felipe Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari took over as the manager of Brazil at one of their lowest points and led them to World Cup victory and Brazilians are hoping that he can do the same this year. Scolari was named manager of the Brazilian National team when they looked as though they were a chance of missing out on qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but managed to get the team into the tournament.

Expectations were low for Brazil heading into the event, but A Seleção made their way through the tournament in excellent style before beating Germany in the final. Scolari returned to the Soccer World Cup four years later in charge of Portugal and the side reached the semi-finals before losing to France. The 65-year-old returned to his former job as manager of Brazil in 2012 and he is expected to lead Brazil to World Cup glory, once again, in 2014.

Vicente Del Bosque

Vicente Del Bosque won the 2010 World Cup with Spain and has the opportunity to join Vittorio Pozzo as the only manager in history to win back-to-back World Cups. Del Bosque took over as the manager of Spain in 2008 and the pressure was on the former Real Madrid coach to lead his star-studded team to victory. Spain made a slow start to the tournament, losing to Switzerland in their opening game, but were always the team to beat and claimed their first Soccer World Cup title with a win in extra-time over The Netherlands in the final.

Del Bosque led the side another major tournament victory in the 2012 European Championships and will go down as one of the most successful international managers in history if he can win another World Cup.

Juan Lopez Fontana

Juan Lopez Fontana was taught the fundamentals of coaching by the inaugural Soccer World Cup winning manager Albert Suppici and Lopez replicated the feat of his mentor by leading Uruguay to World Cup victory in 1950. Lopez took over officially as head coach of the Uruguay side in 1947 and he led the team to the World Cup three years later where they qualified for the final pool with a dominant win over Bolivia. Uruguay went into their final pool game, in absence of a final, needing to beat Brazil at their home stadium The Maracana to win the World Cup and were heavy underdogs to do so, but shocked Brazilian fans to steal a 2-1 one and the World Cup crown.

Lopez led Uruguay to the 1954 World Cup and the team qualified for the semi-finals before losing to Hungary in extra-time and he returned to the Soccer World Cup eight years later as part of a coaching committee that Uruguay to the semi-finals once again. Lopez was a continued source of wisdom for Uruguayan coaches until his death in 1983 and is one of the most underrated managers in World Cup history.

Carlos Alberto Parreira

While he only has one World Cup title to his name, only Bora Miltutinovic has taken as many teams to the World Cup finals as Carlos Alberto Parreira. Parreira made his World Cup debut as a manager when he led Kuwait to the 1982 FIFA World Cup, but failed to win a game, and had little luck when he returned with the United Arab Emirates in 1990.

The nomadic manager returned home to take charge of his native Brazil in 1991 and he led the side to a dramatic World Cup victory in 1994 when they beat Italy on penalties in the final. Parreira failed to win a game with Saudi Arabia in the 1998 World Cup and missed the 2002 World Cup before returning with Brazil in 2006.

Brazil made it through their group without a problem, but were upset by a Zidane-led France in the final and Parreira was criticised for his outdated style of coaching. The veteran manager was given the tough assignment of managing host nation South Africa in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and they failed to progress to the second round, but were far from disgraced and finished the tournament with a win over France. Parreira announced his retirement from coaching at the conclusion of the World Cup, but currently serves as technical director for Brazil.

Marcello Lippi

Marcello Lippi has only appeared at the World Cup on two occasions and it is fair to say that that the veteran manager had very different experiences at both events. Lippi took over as manager of Italy in 2004 and led the side to the World Cup just after the explosive Serie A scandal that saw Juventus relegated to Serie C. Italy were not fancied heading into the World Cup, but Lippi turned the side in a tight and composed unit, led by Fabio Cannavaro, and they finished on top of their Group without losing a game. After a scare against Australia in the second round, Italy accounted for Ukraine and Germany before winning a dramatic penalty shootout against France.

Lippi took a 2 year break from coaching and returned to his former role in time for the 2010 World Cup, but failed to replicate his success of four years earlier. Italy performed extremely poorly in all three games and were bundled out of the tournament without recording a single win. While the performance did damage the legacy of Lippi, his effort to win the 2006 World Cup with an under siege side deserves plenty of credit.