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Football: Portugal’s Fernando Santos set to be named new Poland coach

23.01.2023 21:30
Portuguese manager Fernando Santos will be unveiled on Tuesday as the new coach of the Polish national football team, news outlets have reported.
Fernando Santos.
Fernando Santos.Aleksandr Veprev, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Santos was spotted at Warsaw airport on Monday afternoon, the przegladsportowy.onet.pl website reported. 

Hours later, Poland’s top football official Cezary Kulesza tweeted a photo of himself and Santos, saying: “See you tomorrow at the news conference at the National Stadium!”

Earlier in the day, the Polish Football Association (PZPN) said that the new Poland coach would be unveiled during a news conference at Warsaw’s National Stadium on Tuesday at 1 p.m., state news agency PAP reported.

Following Kulesza's tweet, news outlets reported that Santos had secured the Poland job.

Meanwhile, Poland’s Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk took to Twitter to congratulate the PZPN on the choice of the new manager. 

Bortniczuk noted that Santos had “a very good CV” and was “a successful coach with experience in working with big stars, such as Cristiano Ronaldo.” 

Euro 2016, Nations League winner with Portugal

Santos, 68, is best known for leading Portugal to the 2016 European championship title and the 2019 Nations League trophy. 

He was in charge of the Portuguese side from 2014 to 2022, helping them reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar.  

A solid defender with Estoril and Maritimo during his playing days, Santos went on to manage all of Portugal’s “big three” clubs - Benfica, Porto and Sporting - as well as AEK Athens and PAOK Thessaloniki in Greece, with some success.    

In 2010, he took over the Greek national side, whom he led to the 2012 European championships, where they drew 1-1 with Poland in the opening game of the tournament. 

Santos also guided the Greek team to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, before taking the helm of Portugal. 

Playing style

His teams, though not short of attacking talent, have nonetheless been renowned for their defensive solidity.

This “safety first” approach has been criticised by some as “defensive,” and praised by others as “pragmatic,” while Santos himself regards it as “effective,” the meczyki.pl website reported. 

Euro 2024 

The Portuguese coach is set to take the reins of the Polish team after the national soccer governing body in December decided against renewing the contract of homegrown manager Czesław Michniewicz, whose role as Poland boss ended on December 31, according to officials. 

Poland reached the last 16 of last year's World Cup in Qatar, where they were eliminated by eventual runners-up France.

The Polish team has been drawn to play the Czech Republic, Albania, the Faroe Islands and Moldova in qualifiers for the Euro 2024 championships in Germany.

The Poles are due to start their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with an away game against the Czech Republic on March 24.

Santos’ main objective will be to lead the team to the Euro 2024 championships, przegladsportowy.onet.pl reported.


Source: IAR, PAP, przegladsportowy.onet.pl, uefa.comTVP Sport, meczyki.pl