The Czech national team will face Poland in the 2024 European Championship qualification tonight.Our opponents will be led by a new coach, Fernando Santos.The 68-year-old Portuguese coach last led his native country, where he retired after the World Cup in Qatar.
Before Fernando Santos took over the Portuguese national team, he was not a very well-known coach in the world. Not so in Portugal, where he successively led all the Big Three teams, Porto, Sporting and Benfica.
Much of his career was also linked to Greece, where he coached AEK as well as Panathinaikos Athens and PAOK Thessaloniki. He even managed the local national team from 2010-2014. In 2014, however, he moved to a more prestigious bench, in his native Portugal.
Just two years later, he led Cristiano Ronaldo and co. to a historic European Championship victory, Portugal’s first ever trophy. This earned him confidence for years to come and he remained on the bench until December 2022, where a failed World Cup broke his neck.
But he was not without a job and immediately took over the Polish national team. And his first opponent is the Czech Republic, with whom he has experience from last year’s Nations League.
“I have met and seen the Czech team in the Nations League, so I know how strong the opponent is. They try to play offensively, they have lightning fast counterattacks after they get the ball,” said Santos at the press conference.
“But I believe in my team. I see that the players are motivated, they want to work. All the ideas I came up with, they accepted without any problems,” the Portuguese coach added.
“Of course, not everything went right away, but in training we quickly got better. I feel great expectations. If the coach wasn’t under some stress, he wouldn’t do his job well. It’s a new stage in my life, a new country, a new language. I feel a lot of responsibility. We have a strong opponent to start with, but we will try to play offensively and dominate,” Santos says confidently.
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