Giovanni Trapattoni heading for the sack following Austria defeatby Jack Kitson / 11 September 2013, 10:18Tweet
The home nations managers experienced a mixed bag of results during the international break, leaving one or two of them in a spot of bother on Wednesday morning. Below we assess how each boss fared, along with their chances of remaining at the helm.
Giovanni Trapattoni - Republic of Ireland
Giovanni Trapattoni’s five-year reign as Ireland boss looks set to be coming to an end following back-to-back defeats to Sweden and Austria. Ireland can still mathematically qualify for the World Cup but realistically their chances of making Brazil 2014 are over after falling six points behind second-placed Sweden with two games remaining.
Trapattoni’s tactics have been widely scrutinised and criticised during the campaign due to his refusal to get the ball down and play, instead opting for the long ball. The Italian’s contract expires next summer but the 74-year-old will almost certainly be on his way out as Ireland seek a new direction, with Martin O'Neill currently the hot favourite in the Next Republic of Ireland Manager Market.
Roy Hodgson - England
England may have come away from Ukraine with a valuable point but the manner of their drab goalless draw was extremely disappointing. A lacklustre Three Lions failed to create any real chances during the match but the result means that their fate is still in their own hands as they top Group H with two games to go. However, their participation at the World Cup is by no means assured, with their final two fixtures at home to Montenegro and Poland, who can both still qualify.
Roy Hodgson has predictably defended the underwhelming performance from his troops but the fact that England looked so rigid and uncreative is very worrying. They lack a spark under the former Fulham boss, especially in attack where striker Rickie Lambert had limited support. The returns of Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge will be very welcome.
Chris Coleman - Wales
Wales have plummeted to the bottom of Group A following two defeats in five days. The Dragons suffered a poor 2-1 defeat in Macedonia, before falling to Serbia at home. Even an appearance from the world’s most expensive player Gareth Bale on Tuesday couldn’t save Wales from slumping to a dismal 3-0 defeat in front of their own fans.
Manager Chris Coleman will come under pressure - he has now won just three of his 13 games in charge - but he still expects to sign a two-year contract extension. The former Fulham boss will now be looking for his side to restore some pride from their remaining qualifiers at home to Macedonia and away to Belgium. In truth Coleman has a number of decent players at his disposal but they simply must start erasing mistakes at the back in order to move forward.
Michael O'Neill - Northern Ireland
On Tuesday Northern Ireland suffered a humiliating defeat away to Luxembourg, a side ranked 140th in the world. It was only the small country’s fourth ever World Cup qualifying victory and subsequently produced scenes of extreme jubilation from their supporters. In contrast it left Michael O’Neil’s men dejected and demoralised.
The Green and White Army will be particularly disappointed at the loss considering that they headed into the match on the back of some encouraging results. Last month they came away from Russia with a shock 1-0 victory, while they pushed Portugal all the way last week. They can no longer finish third in Group F but will look to end on a high with a victory in Azerbaijan, while they will be hoping to come away from Israel with at least point in their final match.
Gordon Strachan - Scotland
Scotland ended the international break on a high after coming away from Macedonia with a 2-1 victory. Gordon Strachan’s men scored a late winner to claim only the second win of what has been yet another disappointing qualifying campaign. However, the victory is a welcome confidence boost and propelled the Scots up to 4th in Group A, above Macedonia and now rock-bottom Wales.