Appearing in a World Cup as a player is special, and it’s a major achievement if you excel as a young standout. Playing in the tournament and then making it as a coach is something special. Let’s meet the most notable World Cup players who coached in the tournament (try and remain calm when you reach No. 9 on the list).
The collection of World Cup players who coached in the tournament is more extensive than might think, but for the most part, we’re going to discuss coaching appearances from 2002 and beyond.
1. Javier Aguirre
Mexico lost in the round of 16 when it hosted the World Cup in 1986, and Aguirre was part of that team. Unfortunately, he didn’t fare any better as a World Cup coach. Mexico didn’t make it past the round of 16 when Aguirre managed the team in 2002 and 2010.
Next: A legend who’s on a very short list.
2. Franz Beckenbauer
As we mentioned earlier, the list of World Cup players who coached in the tournament is longer than you might think, but the list gets a lot shorter when you include men who won titles in both roles. Franz Beckenbauer makes the cut. He played in the 1966 final and helped West Germany win it all in 1974. He did the same thing as a coach as the West Germans made the championship game in 1986 and won the title in 1990.
Next: He helped set the stage for greatness as a coach.
3. Jose Antonio Camacho
A defender for Spain in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup tournaments, Juan Antonio Camacho coached his country into the 2002 quarterfinals. The run ended there, but he helped set the stage for Spain’s 2010 title by putting players such as Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez, and Carlos Puyol in the 2002 roster.
Next: He might not want to think about his World Cup appearances too much.
4. Fabio Capello
Fabio Capello played and coached in a World Cup, but he might not want to think about either of them too much. Italy didn’t make it out of the group stage when he played in 1974, and England lost big against Germany in the round of 16 when he coached the Three Lions in 2010. At least he wasn’t at the helm during England’s embarrassing 2014 run.
Next: A man who is already a legend.
5. Didier Deschamps
Like we said earlier, making the World Cup as both a player and a coach is special, and winning a title as both puts you in rarefied air. Didier Deschamps is one of the few to win it all as a player and coach. He played for France’s 1998 championship team, and he guided Les Bleus to the 2018 championship.
Next: He experienced joy and heartbreak in the World Cup.
Carlos Verri, nicknamed Dunga, has been on both ends of the spectrum on the big stage. As a player for Brazil, he won a World Cup in 1994 and played in the final in 1998. But as a coach in 2010, his team lost in a quarterfinal, which is an early exit by Brazilian standards.
Next: We’re guessing he’s on good terms with the fans.
7. Alexandre Guimaraes
Country: Costa Rica
A midfielder when he suited up for Costa Rica, Alexandre Guimaraes is one of the World Cup players who coached his country. He played on the 1990 World Cup team, then coached in 2002 and 2006. He only notched two wins in those three appearances, but just getting to the tournament is a big deal for the country, so we’re guessing he’s on good terms with the fans.
Next: His time as a player was better than his time as a coach.
8. Srecko Katanec
Back when Yugoslavia was a country, Srecko Katanec was a defender for a team that advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals in 1990. However, he isn’t one of the memorable World Cup coaches. Slovenia’s manager oversaw a team that scored just two goals and didn’t notch a win at the 2002 tournament.
Next: Please try and remain calm.
9. Jurgen Klinsmann
Try and remain calm, United States soccer fans. Jurgen Klinsmann is despised in the U.S. since he left one of the best players in American history, Landon Donovan, off the 2014 World Cup team. Plus, there’s the fact he presided over a nosedive that kept the U.S. out of the 2018 World Cup.
In his native Germany, however, he’s a legend. He was a forward on the 1990 West German title team, played in the 1994 and 1998 World Cup tournaments, and coached Germany to third place in 2006.
Next: An all-time great player who was an average coach.
10. Diego Maradona
We’re discussing World Cup players who coached, but we’re always going to remember Diego Maradona as a player. He starred in one of the (best World Cup matches https://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/these-are-the-15-best-world-cup-matches-of-all-time.html/ ) in a 1986 quarterfinal on Argentina’s way to the title. He also helped the team reach the 1990 final. As the 2010 coach, however, Maradona and Argentina couldn’t solve Germany in a 4-0 blowout loss in the quarterfinals.
Next: What word best describes this guy?
11. Henri Michel
What’s the best word to describe Henri Michel? Vagabond? Gun for hire? Nomad? We’ll go with nomad since he went all over the world in the name of soccer. He’s probably not the most notable of the World Cup players who coached, but no one comes close to his number of coaching stops.
He played for France in the 1978 World Cup and coached Les Bleus to third place in 1986, and then he headed south. He coached Cameroon (1994), Morocco (1998), the Ivory Coast (2006) in World Cups, and he was Kenya’s coach for a brief spell in 2012 before he resigned.
Next: He knows a thing or two about winning World Cup games.
12. Morten Olsen
Defender Morten Olsen was a player for a Danish team that won its group in 1986 before falling in the round of 16. He coached the Danes to the round of 16 in 2002 and also led the team in 2010. In all, he was part of six World Cup wins as a player and a coach.
Next: He’s an English hero now.
13. Gareth Southgate
The World Cup players who coached we’ve seen so far had more notable playing careers. That’s not the case for Gareth Southgate. He played in two games for England across two tournaments (1998 and 2002), but he coached the Three Lions to one of their best runs in 2018 as they sneaked past Columbia in the round of 16 on the way to semifinals and a fourth-place showing.
Next: He went 40 years between World Cups.
14. Giovanni Trapattoni
Among all the World Cup players who coached, Giovanni Trapattoni has one of the longest stretches between appearances. The midfielder made the 1962 World Cup roster for Italy, and after a lengthy and successful club coaching career in Europe, he led the Italian national team at the 2002 world tournament.
Next: Four tournaments, three title game appearances.
15. Rudolph Voller
This is our third German on the list, and he enjoyed almost as much success as Franz Beckenbauer and Jurgen Klinsmann. In fact, Rudolph Voller one of the most successful, if somewhat unknown, World Cup players who coached. The forward played in 1986, 1990, and 1994, helping the Germans reach the title game in ’86 and win it all in 1990. As the coach in 2002, he helped Germany reach the title game again. That’s three finals in four appearances, which is a pretty solid track record.
Next: Another man who makes the very short list.
16. Mario Zagallo
As we mentioned earlier, not many of the World Cup players who coached won titles as both. Mario Zagallo is one of them. He played alongside World Cup legend Pele on Brazil’s championship teams in 1958 and 1962, then he coached the all-time great to a title in 1970. He also led Brazil to the 1998 final, where it lost to France.
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