Ranked: All 32 managers at the World Cup

RealSport looks at the coaches who will be helping or hindering their team's chances of glory in Russia.

REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

One of the most interesting things about the World Cup is the diversity of coaching talent and different approaches that different coaches take. 

This year’s tournament in Russia will see a mix of experienced tacticians and younger managers. Some have experience in top European leagues, while others have cut their cloth in Africa and Asia. 

It will be fascinating to see the mix of styles and tactics and, after five weeks, assess whose stock has fallen and risen. 

Here’s how RealSport rank the 32 managers at the World Cup:

  1. 32 Stanislav Cherchesov (Russia)

    REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

    Has pedigree after leading Legia Warsaw to the Polish double in 2016 after taking over from the sacked Henning Berg a few months into the season.

    Having taken over from Leonid Slutsky after Russia's underwhelming winless Euro 2016 campaign, he has not been the man to turn around their fortunes. 

    He's not been dealt the best hand but there is some talent in the Miranchuk twins, Fyodor Smolov and Alan Dzagoev and the team looks less than the sum of its parts.

    They have looked utterly hopeless under his stewardship and could well be the worst performing hosts in World Cup history. 

  2. 31 Mladen Krstajić (Serbia)

    REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

    A veteran of Serbia's imperious back four, this is his first job in management. 

    Slavoljub Muslin had Serbia finishing above the Republic of Ireland and Wales in their qualifying group but wasn't deemed the right man to lead them in Russia. 

    Krstajić has a mixed record in the friendlies but a 2-0 win over Nigeria in March suggested he might get the most out of the likes of Aleksandar Mitrović, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Co. 

    A mystery box but must have shown something as a coach to be given such a responsibility. 

  3. 30 Zlatko Dalić (Croatia)

    REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

    Brought in last autumn to steer Croatia's flailing qualification campaign, he did what was required by defeating Ukraine in the final group game before emphatically defeating Greece in the play-offs. 

    His managerial experience is mostly made up of time in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, but he has fared quite well in charge of Croatia. 

    They recently lost 2-0 to Brazil, but their pressing game had the favourites rattled. There are little sparks to suggest he might be able to get the most out of this exceptionally talented generation but, ideally, they would want a coach of a higher pedigree. 

  4. 29 Aliou Cissé (Senegal)

    REUTERS/Eric Vidal

    This is the first senior role the former Portsmouth and Birmingham defensive midfielder has had in management but is well-regarded in his home country after featuring in Senegal's remarkable victory over France in the 2002 World Cup.

    Formerly the manager of the Under-23s, he's well-acquainted with this set of players and topped the group in CAF qualifying ahead of Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and South Africa.

    However, the team plays quite negative football and there are doubts over his ability to get the best out of Sadio Mane, their only potentially match-winning forward. 

  5. 28 Oscar Ramirez (Costa Rica)

    Reuters/Craig Brough

    Originally brought in as the assistant, he was soon the main man after head coach Paulo Wanchope was dismissed following a fracas with a fan. 

    His previous experience in management is in Costa Rican club football with football's most prestigious tournament marking a huge step up. 

    He has done well in the job so far, especially with doing the double over the United States in CONCACAF qualifying. 

    But it will be astonishing if he can match the heroics of his predecessor Jorge Luis Pinto with only penalties standing between Costa Rica and the semi-finals in 2014. 

  6. 27 Akira Nishino (Japan)

    REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

    Japan's FA decided that Vahid Halilhodzic was not the best man for the job, sacking him just two months before the World Cup. 

    They topped the group in qualifying, but dismal performances in friendlies against Ghana and Ukraine made them go in a different direction. 

    Veteran Akira Nishino was brought in for his first job since 2015. It's expected that he'll know what's best for this squad, having spent his managerial career in Japan, including a successful nine-year stint at Gamba Osaka between 2002 and 2011. 

    But 2-0 losses to Ghana and Switzerland haven't been the best start. 

  7. 26 Nabil Maaloul (Tunisia)

    REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

    This will be his fourth stint as part of Tunisia's coaching set-up and second as manager after he resigned after failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

    But he did it this time around in impressive fashion, finishing one point ahead of DR Congo. 

    Coming back against them from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 was vital in securing qualification and Maaloul's in-game management was key, bringing on goalscorer Anice Badri on at half-time.

  8. 25 Shin Tae-yong (South Korea)

    The South Korean hasn't been in management long but has an encouraging record in knockout competitions, winning the Asian Champions League with Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in 2010 and the Korean Cup in 2011. 

    He only spent two years at the Korean club but has been building for this opportunity with the national team ever since - joining their coaching set-up in 2014 and taking charge of their youth teams. 

    He was given the role last June with qualification for Russia in the balance after a 3-2 loss to Qatar. Two goalless draws in his first two games were enough to see them qualify.

    The subsequent friendlies haven't been entirely convincing, especially against European opposition. Recent losses to Northern Ireland, Poland and Bosnia will damage their confidence ahead of Germany and Sweden in their World Cup group. 

  9. 24 Janne Anderson (Sweden)

    He may only have managerial experience in Swedish domestic football but has already overachieved by taking this group of players to the World Cup.

    He has done a good job in forming a solid collective unit after Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired. 

    Their perfectly executed gameplan against Italy in the play-offs suggested a team that might be able to frustrate opponents with superior players. 

  10. 23 Bert van Marwijk (Australia)

    REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

    Australia nabbed the veteran Dutchman after he masterminded qualification for their rivals, Saudi Arabia, out of the Asian qualifying group. 

    Finishing behind them in the group, the Socceroos were left to contest play-offs against Syria and Honduras. 

    Australia had a vacancy after Ange Postecoglou resigned following their qualification. 

    They took the opportunity to secure van Marwijk's services after Saudi Arabia dismissed him, having opted for the more glamorous Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi. 

    The veteran has extensive experience and lead the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 2010 but the same side lost all three group games at Euro 2012.

  11. 22 Gareth Southgate (England)

    REUTERS/Phil Noble

    The former defender's biggest achievement in management thus far is bringing positivity back to the national team, a tall order after their shocking defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016.

    He's chosen the best players for his system and has shown tactical nous. Unbeaten in qualification, draws in friendlies against Brazil and Spain have added to the sense something is building. 

    However, it's easy to forget that many thought Hodgson was building something progressive before tournament disasters, and Fabio Capello and Sven Goran Eriksen emphatically had them qualifying too.

    Southgate's managerial career doesn't amount to much so far, underachieving with the Under-21s and getting Middlesbrough relegated. Unless he can finally get England competitive at a summer tournament, his reputation won't change. 

    But he's done everything right so far. 

  12. 21 Roberto Martinez (Belgium)

    Perhaps it's recency bias due to how shambolic his Everton side were in his final months but Roberto Martinez has a reputation as a charlatan that's perhaps a little unfair.

    Not dissimilar to what Eddie Howe is doing now with Bournemouth, Martinez' Wigan consistently punched above their weight by staying in the Premier League and their aesthetically pleasing football was an added bonus. 

    It's easy to forget that he crafted a good Everton side in his first season at Goodison and had them challenging for a Champions League place. And who could forget Wigan's FA Cup?

    Belgium were given an easy group in qualifying, with Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece and Estonia, but couldn't have done much more with nine wins and a draw. 

    But there's a nagging sense, like the hapless Marc Wilmots before him, he has failed to craft a unit that befits the talent of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne et al. 

    In friendlies under Martinez, Belgium have failed to beat a top team, being outclassed by Spain and failing to score past Portugal. This might be the best squad Belgium ever send to a World Cup and again it seems they don't have a coach of the requisite calibre. 

  13. 20 Gernot Rohr (Nigeria)

    REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

    The German has done a good job by getting the Super Eagles out of a difficult African qualifying group - alongside Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia. 

    A 4-0 victory over the African champions Cameroon garnered international attention and has many predicting Nigeria will be the best African team in Russia. Having already beaten Argentina 4-2, they could be a surprise package.

    He has also formed a good partnership with Salisu Yusuf, the Nigerian coach and former caretaker manager. Together, they have crafted a good team capable of winning the ball from midfield and setting the tempo of a game.

  14. 19 Åge Hareide (Denmark)

    With considerable experience in Scandinavian football, winning titles in his native Norway alongside Sweden and Denmark, Hareide was given the national team job after Denmark's failure to qualify for the expanded Euro 2016.

    Under his coaching, Denmark look a good team. They play an aggressive pressing style, get the best out of Christian Eriksen and have done well to integrate Pione Sisto on the left. 

    A perfectly executed gameplan in the play-off against Ireland saw them win 5-1 away. That bodes well for knockout football.

  15. 18 Adam Nawalka (Poland)

    REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

    Poland finished five points ahead of Denmark and, with Robert Lewandowski scoring more goals than anybody else in qualifying, this is a manager who knows how to get the best from his star players. 

    Nawalka had Poland extremely organised and competitive (if not scintillating) at Euro 2016. 

    Unbeaten in five tournament games, they held Germany to a scoreless draw and were only sent out after losing to Portugal on penalties in the quarter-final. 

    If he can get them just as coordinated in defence and keep Lewandowski scoring he might get the best out of them. 

  16. 17 Hernán Darío Gómez (Panama)

    REUTERS/Carlos Lemos

    There aren't many other teams who have punched above their weight just by virtue of qualifying as Panama. It was an extraordinary achievement to get the World Cup debutants to Russia. 

    Hernán Darío Gómez has them working extremely hard and their physicality will test the referees.

    The Colombian coach has extensive experience in international football, taking charge of his home country twice, as well as Guatemala and Ecuador. 

    This is the third time he has lead a country to the World Cup. 

  17. 16 Juan Carlos Osorio (Mexico)

    The Columbian is not a popular man in his homeland with many calls for his dismissal, after damaging collapses: 7-0 to Chile in the 2016 Copa America, and 4-1 to Germany in last summer's Confederations Cup. 

    Such results will have some fearing that another embarrassing defeat in Russia but they have usually been in contrast to good coaching and interesting tactical ideas. With one loss in ten CONCACAF qualifiers, Mexico qualified with little trouble. 

    There's a versatility to his approach that will keep their opponents guessing. 


  18. 15 Hector Cuper (Egypt)

    REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

    The Argentine manager has one of the most wide-ranging CVs in the business, having worked for major European names including Valencia and Inter Milan, as well as clubs in Turkey, the UAE and his native Argentina but this is only his second job in charge of a national team.

    Named the CAF coach of the year for his role in Egypt's qualification for the World Cup, their first since 1990, much of this was thanks to Cuper's knack for defensive organisation. 

  19. 14 Carlos Queiroz (Iran)

    REUTERS/Murad Sezer

    As assistant to Alex Ferguson, the Portuguese coach's tactical nous at Manchester United once earned him a shot at the biggest job in football: Real Madrid, where he moved in 2003. 

    That didn't work out but he has since established himself as a canny operator on the international circuit.

    This is the second time in which he's qualified Iran for the World Cup. Last time they went out in the group stage but the coach masterminded an excellent defensive display that kept out Argentina for 91 minutes until a piece of Messi magic bypassed all their players.

    He's developed the team and they should show more attacking impetus this time, while if they can keep the same defensive organisation they might frustrate Portugal and Spain.

  20. 13 Vladimir Petković (Switzerland)

    The Bosnian Croat from Sarajevo has been in Switzerland for thirty years and has been managing in the Swiss league on-and-off since 1997. 

    He's been in charge of the Swiss national team, one of the most diverse in terms of backgrounds, since the last World Cup. 

    Defensively drilled, they held France to a 0-0 draw in their last group game of Euro 2016 before being knocked out on penalties to Poland. 

    The Swiss FA game the rankings system in order to be seeded but that strategy only works if they win and Petkovic has them obliging: they were unbeaten throughout qualifying until they fell to Portugal in their final game, but made amends by defeating Northern Ireland in the play-offs. 

    That defeat to Portugal is their only loss in 90 minutes since before Euro 2016. They are very difficult to beat and that's all down to Petkovic. 

  21. 12 Didier Deschamps (France)

    REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

    With Zinedine Zidane waiting in the wings to guide this exceptional generation, the pressure is on Deschamps if he fails to win the World Cup. 

    He did well in his first tournament in Brazil 2014 as France were only edged out by eventual champions Germany, but there's a sense he has failed to take them forward from there. 

    France missed an opportunity to win the Euros on home soil and he was out-thought by Portugal's Fernando Santos in the final. And their qualification campaign for Russia wasn't as convincing as it should have been. 

    Still, he has pedigree: he took unfancied Monaco to a Champions League final in 2004 and has won four French cups and the league with Marseille.

    This is his chance to prove doubters wrong but he needs to decide on his best team and get the best out of Paul Pogba. Consistency has been his failing.

  22. 11 Ricardo Gareca (Peru)

    REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

    Getting Peru to this tournament is an achievement in itself, especially given the competitiveness of South American qualifying and the flaky side that Gareca inherited. This is their first World Cup since 1982. 

    The Argentine has done brilliantly to turn around Peru's fortunes but their away record, in particular, was shocking before he took over. 

    Peru went 12 years without an away win between 2004 and 2016 but then secured crucial draws on the road in Argentina and Venezuela during the run-in, and also held New Zealand in the play-off. 

    They've done well away in friendlies since, too - looking ready for the World Cup by defeating Iceland, Croatia and Saudi Arabia. 

  23. 10 Heimir Hallgrímsson (Iceland)

    REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

    The former part-time dentist is responsible for the smallest ever nation to qualify for the World Cup. 

    Having worked with the experienced Lars Lagerback up to an including the unforgettable Euro 2016 campaign, he has taken sole charge of the side and topped a tricky qualifying group (featuring Croatia, Turkey and Ukraine) to take them to Russia. 

    They haven't lost the collective strength that made them such overachievers two years ago, with an outstanding work ethic. 

  24. 9 Juan Antonio Pizzi (Saudi Arabia)

    REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

    It was quite the coup for Saudi Arabia to secure the services of Juan Antonio Pizzi who followed in the footsteps of his predecessor Jorge Sampaoli to retain the Copa America with Chile at America's Centenario tournament in 2016. 

    An upgrade on Bert van Marwijk, Pizzi has made Saudi Arabia more confident in possession and their recent friendlies (2-1 defeats to Germany and Italy, and 2-0 wins over Greece and Algeria) suggest a team that should compete with the hosts in the opening game. 

    At the very least, they should improve upon their last World Cup - winless in 2006, they exited in the group stage and were defeated 4-0 by Ukraine.

  25. 8 Herve Renard (Morocco)

    REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

    The Frenchman showed weaknesses in the domestic game in his Ligue 1 stints, relegated with Sochaux and sacked after a few months in charge of Lille, but he has an excellent record in international management.

    After taking Zambia to the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012, he ended the Ivory Coast's golden generation's long wait for silverware by taking them to the same trophy three years later.

    Now in charge of Morocco, they only conceded one goal in qualifying. They're a strong team. 

  26. 7 Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay)

    REUTERS/Alena Sevryukova

    Known as El Maestro - "the teacher" - the native of Montevideo has been doing great work with Uruguay for over a decade. 

    After reaching an unlikely semi-final in 2010, they went on to win the Copa America in 2011 and qualify ahead of England and Italy out of the group in the 2014 World Cup.

    The latest feather in his cap is revitalising the team, replacing the old combative midfield for more technically gifted youngsters: in particular Juventus' Rodrigo Bentancur. 

    With the two partnerships behind and in-front - Godin and Gimenez, and Suarez and Cavani, he's crafted a well-balanced team. 

  27. 6 Jose Pekerman (Colombia)

    REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

    Argentina might well regret allowing Pekerman to leave in 2006.

    After taking Colombia to the quarter-finals last time around, he's remained in charge and continues to impress.

    They weren't entirely convincing in qualifying but, with Yerry Mina fit, they should be more secure at the back - though good collective performances are always in danger of being undermined by moments of calamity from goalkeeper David Ospina. 

    He'll be looking to replicate the tactical approach of 2014 that allowed James Rodriguez to flourish and announce himself as a superstar.

  28. 5 Fernando Santos (Portugal)

    REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

    Having upset the odds to win Euro 2016, Portugal won nine out of ten matches in qualifying to stake their claim. 

    The last tournament success was largely built upon a well-drilled back four and providing service for the difference-maker Cristiano Ronaldo. 

    With an aging defence - Pepe, Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves don't look capable of providing the same backs-to-the-wall brilliance this time around, it will be interesting to see if Santos can adapt to win in a different style with Bernardo Silva and André Silva emerging as more creative players than he had at his disposal two years ago.

  29. 4 Julen Lopetegui (Spain)


    Having won the Under-21 Euros in 2013, and the Under-19 Euros, Julen Lopetegui was a sensible choice to succeed Vicente del Bosque now that many of those players have come of age and contributed at a senior level.

    Seven players from his Under-21 side now light up top-level European football and are deservedly in the squad for Russia: David de Gea, Nacho, Dani Carvajal, Isco, Thiago, Koke and Rodrigo.

    Over the last two years, Spain have arguably been the strongest side in international football. 

    Not only do they have exceptional individual quality, but they play with a cohesiveness and understanding that's usually only seen in club football. This was particularly obvious in the 3-0 win over Italy and the 6-1 mauling of Argentina. 

    While he underwhelmed in club management at Porto, is clearly the right man for this group of players. He's done very well to revitalise them. 

  30. 3 Jorge Sampaoli (Argentina)

    REUTERS/Albert Gea

    Running with the template set by Marcelo Bielsa, his Chile side were one of the most impressive and gratifying teams of the last World Cup - their intensity completely bamboozling Spain to eliminate them in the group stage. 

    A spirited performance against Brazil saw them beaten on penalties, but they responded by winning the Copa America a year later. 

    Jorge Sampaoli had deservedly earned a reputation as one of the most exciting in world football, and he improved Sevilla in his one and only season in European football, instilling that trademark pressing game. 

    If it wasn't for the lure of managing his country at the World Cup, he'd probably still be managing a top-level European side (where all of the best managerial talent currently resides). 

    But things haven't been entirely rosy at Argentina, and on the eve of the tournament, he's yet to show evidence of building a team with an identity. 

    A manager who demands work on the training pitch, he'll be glad the friendly against Israel was cancelled, giving him more time to make last-minute preparations. 

    It will be interesting to see if Sampaoli is pragmatic enough to admit he's not got the right players to use a high-press. If so, can he adapt and craft an effective gameplan? Time is not on his side.

  31. 2 Tite (Brazil)

    REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

    Taking influence from the best coaches of European football, Tite is the first genuinely progressive coach Brazil have had in a generation. 

    With two years wasted under Dunga, a coach who firmly belongs in the past, Tite has made an instant and impressive impact.

    Qualification looked genuinely precarious when he was appointed, but he made Brazil the runaway leaders of the round robin South American qualifying. 

    Defensively sound, he also gets the best out of the wealth of attack at his disposal, with Neymar, Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus flying when they put on the yellow shirt.

    The right man at the right time. 

  32. 1 Joachim Löw (Germany)

    REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

    A man who knows how to win the World Cup.

    Leaving out Leroy Sane was testament to Lowe's belief in the system and collective context and, when the winger didn't perform again, he was cut because there are others he can trust to work within a gameplan. 

    He's shown versatility and won last summer's Confederations Cup with a new generation of talent. 

    He's also done well to integrate the new waves of talent and has moved on from the heroes of the last World Cup (Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger).

    Germany might not win this World Cup, but the manager will give the players every chance to do so. 

    Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group D in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.

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