Which manager will lift the 2014 World Cup?by Jack Kitson / 07 July 2014, 10:53Tweet
After 25 days of enthralling action only four teams remain in contention to win the 2014 World Cup. Four nerve-shredding quarter-finals have whizzed by, and in turn produced two cracking semi-finals; Brazil v Germany and Argentina v Netherlands. Below we take a look at the four managers bidding for World Cup glory, and their odds of lifting the trophy at the Maracana on Sunday.
Luiz Felipe Scolari (Brazil)
Luiz Felope Scolari memorably hoisted the World Cup back in 2002, and now fast-forward to 12 years later he is now agonisingly close to becoming only the second manager to repeat the feat and win the famous trophy for the second time. In the quarter-finals his Brazil side held their nerve to beat their in-form South America rivals Colombia, however the victory came at a huge cost. Star man and World Cup poster boy Neymar has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament, while influential captain Thiago Silva is suspended for the Germany clash.
As a result the Samba Kings are no longer the outright favourites to win their sixth World Cup trophy, with Bet365 pricing the hosts at 11/4. However, on home soil - roared on by over 200million passionate fans - the Seleção will be gunning to out aside the setbacks and oust Germany on Tuesday. History is in their favour, with Brazil losing none of their last six semi-final matches (5W 1D), and have advanced through to the Final in each of their last six appearances in the final four, while they memorably beat Germany 2-0 in the Final 12 years ago.
Joachim Low (Germany)
Germany will no doubt fancy their chances against Brazil. In beating France in the last-four the perennial challengers set a new record after becoming the first country to reach the World Cup semi-finals in four consecutive tournaments. However, this is the stage where they have struggled of late, having faltered at in the semi-finals at their last two World Cups, and also at Euro 2012.
But, as mentioned above, Brazil are depleted without star man Neymar and skipper Silva. Meanwhile Germany have only conceded in one of their five games in Brazil (in 90 minutes), and their immense defence looks in good stead against a Brazil attack significantly weakened without Neymar. Boss Joachim Low has showcased his tactical range in Brazil, after making a number of debatable, yet ultimately successful decisions. Die Mannschaft can currently be found at 15/8 to beat the Seleção in normal time, while they are priced at 11/4 to go on and win the World Cup.
Louis van Gaal (Netherlands)
Louis van Gaal won numerous plaudits for his bold decision to replace goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul just seconds before the referee blew the final whistle for penalties in their quarter-final clash with Costa Rica. Whether it was a cheeky bluff, a pre-planned decision, or simply a moment of inspiration doesn't matter, it worked, and the Dutch are now looking forward to their second successive semi-final.
During the knockout stages Netherlands may not reached the same level of performance as they hit in Group B, however they have shown their resilience and mental strength, and will now be gunning to reach the Final for the second time in a row. Van Gaal, who is dubbed the “The Iron Tulip”, is already an icon but his reputation will reach staggering new heights if he becomes the man to lead his country to World Cup glory for the first time in their history, with Holland currently a tempting bet at 4/1 with Bet Victor.
Alejandro Sabella (Argentina)
Compared to his World Cup counterparts Alejandro Sabella has had a reasonably low-key tournament to date, despite Argentina winning all five of their matches so far in Brazil. However, they have arguably been underwhelming so far with all five games have been won by a margin of just one goal, while they needed a late strike from to beat Switzerland in the last-16.
There is undoubtedly more to come from La Albiceleste, who have yet to reach their peak in South America. Sabella may not have the same profile or reputation as any of the above three managers but he is now only two games away from becoming a legend in his homeland, with Argentina now the narrowest of favourites, at 5/2, to record their first World Cup triumph since 1986.