The coaches who have made a mark on Euros history
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Few countries can match Germany’s level of success at the European Championships, Die Mannschaft winning a joint-highest three tournaments, while also finishing runner-up on three other occasions. It should, therefore, not come as a surprise that the majority of the Euros’ history-making coaches come from Bavaria as we look at the men in the dugout who have left their mark on the competition.
Only one man has so far won the European Championships as both a player and a coach with that honour held by the man nicknamed ‘Der Terrier’. Vogts enjoyed great success as both a player and manager, the former defender winning plenty for both club and country. The now 74-year-old man-marked Johan Cruyff in West Germany’s 1974 World Cup final win over the Netherlands, while two years earlier he tasted Euros success.
Vogts was an unused member of the squad that won the 1972 European Championships but still came home from Belgium with a winners’ medal. As a manager, Vogts was given the unenviable task of succeeding Franz Beckenbauer as Germany’s head coach, a burden he struggled with at times as Die Mannschaft finished runners-up at Euro 92 before going one better four years later.
Their victory at Euro 96 was Germany’s first as a unified nation, while also cementing Vogts’ name in the history books. He could see his achievement matched at this summer’s Euros should either Didier Deschamps or Ronald Koeman lead France or the Netherlands respectively to the title.
Vicente del Bosque
Few people have enjoyed the kind of success Vincente del Bosque has achieved in his life, both as a player and manager. A serial winner with Spain and Real Madrid, Del Bosque’s footballing exploits are nearly as famous as his excellent moustache.
Del Bosque is the only coach in history to have won the Champions League, World Cup and European Championships, his Spain team producing arguably the most comprehensive Euros win when they won the 2012 edition. Real Madrid’s decision to sack Del Bosque in 2003 is still a puzzler given he’d won two Champions League titles for the club he’d represented as a player, but their loss was Spain’s gain.
Building on the work of predecessor Luis Aragones, who is the oldest manager to win a Euros title, Del Bosque guided La Roja to their first world title in 2010 before helping them retain their European Championship crown two years later. Spain’s 4-1 thrashing of Italy in the final remains one of the most dominant displays in an international showpiece game.
Back to Germany and the only man to have won a European Championship with a foreign team: Otto Rehhagel. Having enjoyed great success coaching in Germany, winning a combined three Bundesliga titles with Werder Bremen and Kaiserslautern, Rehhagel surprised many when dipping his toe into international football waters for the first time in 2001.
Beating out Marco Tardelli and Terry Venables to the job, Rehhagel was named Greece boss in August of that year. He made an inauspicious start, losing his first game 5-1 to Finland but slowly built a head of steam, securing automatic qualification for the 2004 Euros.
The Greeks, who had never won a game at a major tournament previously, were priced up as 150-1 to win the Euros, despite qualifying ahead of Spain, and set out their stall early when beating hosts Portugal in the tournament opener. Rehhagel’s defensive style of play might not have won many admirers but it proved effective as Greece dumped out defending champions France in the quarter-finals, before beating the Czech Republic in the semis and Portugal again in the final, all by a 1-0 scoreline. After his team had won the final, Rehhagel famously crowed: “There are always surprises. This time we are the surprise.”
Finally, we come to a coach who holds numerous European Championship records but has never actually won the tournament in Joachim Low. The current head coach of the German national side will call time on his 15-year tenure after this summer’s Euros, or potentially earlier after their shock home loss to North Macedonia in the last round of World Cup qualifiers.
If he hasn’t been relieved of his duties before the Euros, Low will equal Lars Lagerback’s record of coaching at four different European Championships, while also extending his record of most games managed at a finals. Low has taken charge of 17 games previously, two more than second on the list Lagerback.
Low also holds the record for most games won at the Euros with 11, which has translated to finishing runner-up in 2008 and two semi-final appearances in the last two tournaments. Should Low guide Germany to glory this summer, he would become a member of a select group of managers to have won both the World Cup and the Euros, joining Helmut Schon (Germany: EURO 1972, 1974 World Cup) and Del Bosque in rarefied company.