For a manager, the World Cup is often one long heart attack. These men often prepare four years to lead their team into the biggest tournament in sport, and all that’s guaranteed is 270 minutes of soccer and a lack of predictability that make the games so much fun to watch.
Few managers make it out of World Cups unscathed. Fewer ever get back to the tournament, and it’s a rare and talented boss who makes it to consecutive World Cups with the same country.
With squad selections for the tournament in Brazil just weeks away, and the games beginning in less than 50 days, now is a good time to take a look at where the bosses of 2010 in South Africa are now.
Javier Aguirre, Mexico
Aguirre was brought in for a second spell in charge of Mexico in 2009 after Sven Goran-Eriksson’s disastrous tenure, and he righted the ship to qualify El Tri for the World Cup. But bizarre decision making at the tournament (starting a striker with no club, not naming a captain, dropping your first-choice goalkeeper on the eve of the tournament) led the public to turn on the coach.
Aguirre resigned after Mexico was knocked out of the tournament in the second round. He expressed a desire to coach in England, but needless to say, no offers were forthcoming. He’s now the coach of La Liga cellar-dwellers Espanyol, where he’s doing admirably.
Radomir Antic, Serbia
Antic’s Serbia came into the tournament with high hopes, but crashed out after losing their final group match against an already-eliminated Australian team when they only needed a point.
Antic, who has managed both Real Madrid and Barcelona, stayed on but resigned after Serbia’s unsuccessful Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. He then sued the Serbian FA, around the time he was being sacked from his coaching job in China. He’s been out of the game since 2013.
Marcelo Bielsa, Chile
Bielsa is beloved by his peers, players, and football fans. The stoic and academically inclined Bielsa reached God-like status in Chile after he qualified them for the World Cup in 2010 and reached the knockout stage, where Chile lost to Spain.
Despite rumors he was leaving, Bielsa signed a contract extension through 2015 – but he threatened he would leave if Jorge Segovia was elected President of the Chilean FA. Segovia was elected, and though the result was later annulled, Bielsa walked. His last post was with Athletico Bilbao, he hasn’t managed since the 2012-2013 season.
Bob Bradley, USA
Always the USA’s second choice, Bradley signed an uneasy contract extension after the American’s thrilling and exhausting run to the Round of 16 in South Africa.
But after a shellacking by Mexico in the 2011 Gold Cup Final at the Rose Bowl, Bradley was sacked and the US hired the long-chased Jurgen Klinsmann. Bradley surprisingly took the Egyptian National team job, and led them through a revolution and the Arab Spring to within a playoff of the World Cup, when the Pharaohs heartbreakingly lost to Ghana.