With the weight of a whole nation resting on their shoulders, the World Cup can be a cut-throat football tournament for managers and coaches.
The World Cup 2022 is no exception.
This year’s tournament has already produced its fair share of upsets. As a result, there have already been a few managerial casualties.
Here are the managers who have left their posts:
Brazil coach Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, known as “Tite”, had previously said he planned to step down after his contract ended in the wake of this year’s World Cup.
But that exit came faster than many expected, as the tournament favourites saw a one goal lead over Croatia in added time quickly evaporate during their quarterfinal match. Tied at 1-1, Croatia went on to win 4-2 on penalty kicks in front of shocked Brazilian players and fans.
The loss capped an uneven tournament for Brazil, a team that entered this year’s World Cup with one of the deepest decks of international talent of any side. The group stage had earlier included a surprise 0-1 loss to Cameroon after Brazil had already qualified for knockouts.
Tite took on the role of national team manager in 2016, leading Brazil to a quarterfinal exit in the 2018 World Cup and tournament victory in the 2019 Copa America.
“Sometimes we have a great performance, we shoot at goal, and the ball deviates. That’s normal. But I can respect the result,” he said after the Croatia match. “The loss hurts, but I’m at peace with myself right now.”
“The cycle has ended, and I keep to my word.” ~ Tite
Netherlands: Louis van Gaal
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has said this bout as manager of the national team – his third – would be his final. The announcement came after The Netherlands lost to Argentina in their quarterfinal match, a raucous 2-2 nailbiter that saw the Dutch team come back from the brink to lose 3-4 on penalty kicks.
A coaching stalwart in European club football, van Gaal has become known for his – at times controversial – strategic decisions. Before his final World Cup match he batted away criticism that his team’s restrained play made for “boring” football, citing their success in topping their group stage and beating the USA handily in the Round of 16.
Van Gaal came out of retirement to take the reigns for a final time following the national team’s disappointing showing in Euro 2020. His first stint in the role – from 2000 to 2002 – saw the Netherland’s World Cup campaign fizzle without qualifying for the tournament.
His return from 2012 to 2014 saw the team reach the World Cup 2014 semifinals.
“I don’t think we have been beaten today. It was only a penalty shoot-out,” van Gaal said after the Argentina loss. “What I’m leaving behind is a great group.”
“This was my very last match… I look back in a positive way.” ~ Louis van Gaal
Mexico: Gerardo Martino
The Argentinian coach, Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who had previously managed Barcelona and Argentina, resigned after Mexico’s disastrous group-stage exit. El Tri played out a goalless draw with Poland in their opener, followed by a 2-0 loss to Argentina. Mexico finally scored in their final game against Saudi Arabia, winning 2-1, but it was not enough to progress to the last 16.
The last time Mexico had qualified for the tournament but failed to make it out of the knockout stage was in 1976.
After the match, Martino said, “As the person in charge, it causes a lot of sadness; I fully assume responsibility for this great failure.”
Martino had managed Mexico since January 2019 after winning the MLS Cup with Atlanta United.
“My contract ended as soon as the referee blew the final whistle, and there is nothing more to be done.” ~ Gerardo “Tata” Martino
Belgium: Roberto Martinez
The former Everton manager left his role as Belgium’s manager after they crashed out of the group stages despite heading into the tournament ranked second in the world.
The Spaniard has since claimed it was not a reaction to the loss, stating, “the decision was taken just before the World Cup, I always work towards the long-term projects and they need to be set in advance”.
Martinez took over the national side in 2016 and guided the Red Devils to third place in the 2018 World Cup and the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.
One day later, our elimination from the World Cup still hurts and it will be a while until that feeling goes away.
I want to thank my teammates and especially Roberto Martínez for all this time together. pic.twitter.com/Zr8KSm5gjb
— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) December 2, 2022
Ghana: Otto Addo
The former Ghanaian international confirmed he would leave his role after his side finished bottom of the group despite some impressive performances.
Ghana picked up a win against South Korea but lost to Portugal and Uruguay. After their exit, Addo stated that it was a decision made before the tournament. Addo will return to his role as talent coach at German club Borussia Dortmund where he spent part of his career as a player.
“From the day I started I said if we qualified I would resign after the World Cup, even if we are champions” ~ Otto Addo
South Korea: Paulo Bento
The former Portuguese international ended his four-year tenure as South Korea’s manager after their last-16 exit to Brazil. South Korea drew with Uruguay, lost to Ghana and beat Portugal, securing four points in the group stage and qualification to the last 16.
However, Brazil ran rampant in the first half of their last-16 game, firing four past Kim Seung-gyu in goal.
Spain: Luis Enrique
The Spanish Football Association announced that Luis Enrique would be replaced by Spain under-21 manager Luis de la Fuente just two days after their shock World Cup exit to Morocco.
The former Barcelona manager had guided La Roja to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and the final of the Nations League in 2021.
Enrique took to social media following the announcement and thanked the FA, the players and the fans as he wished his replacement, De la Fuente, success in the role.