UEFA Euro 2020’s Group A consists of four teams in Italy, Switzerland, Turkey and Wales. It’s an interesting group with all the four teams having a good possibility of going into the knockouts. Based on current forms, Italy seems to be an outright winner in the group while all the other three can fight for the second spot with Switzerland having the highest possibility of taking the second place. The remaining two teams will fight to try and grab one of the four best third-placed teams’ spot.
Ahead of the start of the tournament, here are the profiles of the coaches of all the four teams:
ITALY: ROBERTO MANCINI
Mancini is the man responsible for transforming the Italian national team. Mancini was appointed as the manager six months after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1958 FIFA World Cup. Mancini’s contract had a clause that he would get an automatic extension if the team was to qualify for Euro 2020. Not only did Mancini lead Italy to the European Championship, he did it in style - Italy won all their Euro 2020 qualifying matches in Group J, setting an unprecedented record of 10 victories in a single calendar year (2019). They made the Euros with three games to spare, which was another record.
Mancini has led Italy to breaking Vittorio Pozzo’s record of nine consecutive wins with the national team between 1938 and 1939. Mancini’s Italy equalled the record on October 15 with a 5-0 away win against Liechtenstein, they broke the record with a 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 15, wherein they also registered a record sixth straight away victory. The team even extended the win record to 11 with a 9-1 home win against Armenia.
Currently, the Azzurri are on a 22-match unbeaten run, of which they have won 17 games - all under Mancini. Mancini took over the reigns at Italy when they were in tatters and ageing. He showed faith in youth and got results in the rebuilding phase. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (22), midfielder Nicolo Barella (24) and winger Federico Chiesa (23) are now regular starters. Mancini has stuck with the experience of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, but he has found young talent to work around them and take prominence.
Before the Italy assignment, Mancini has managed Fiorentina, Lazio, Manchester City, Galatasaray, Zenit St Petersburg and Inter Milan twice. Mancini won Manchester City their first Premier League title in 2011-12. He took both Lazio and Fiorentina to Coppa Italia victories, won a host of trophies with Inter Milan and the Turkish Cup with Galatasaray.
SWITZERLAND: VLADMIR PETKOVIC
Petkovic has been Switzerland’s manager since 2014 and has so far guided the Swiss to the group stages of both the Euro 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup. In the 73 matches Switzerland have played under him, they have won 40 games, drew 15 and lost 18, which makes his win percentage 54.79. With names like Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland have been high up in the rankings in recent times but they haven’t been very consistent.
Switzerland can upset the odds, like their recent draws against Spain and Germany, but they have failed to be consistent enough for anyone to have a confident idea about how they would fare. Apart from Xhaka and Shaqiri, they also have Atalanta’s Remo Freuler and striker Haris Seferovic and if they all click, the Swiss are bound to cause a shock.
Before Switzerland, Petkovic has managed Bellinzona (then-second tier Swiss club) twice, Malcantone Agno (then-fourth tier club in Switzerland and was promoted to second division in his last season), Lugano (merged with Malcantone Agno in 2004 when he managed), Young Boys (Swiss Super League), Samsunspor (second division Tukish team), Sion (Swiss Super League) and Lazio. His best win percentage throughout his career was with Bellinzona in the second stint.
TURKEY: SENOL GUENES
This is Guenes’ second stint as the coach of the Turkey national team. He was appointed in the position on February 28, 2019. So far under him Turkey have played 26 games, winning 14 of those, drawing nine and losing only three. He has a win percentage of 53.85. Such has been Guenes’ stature in Tukish football that he has a stadium named behind him. In Guenes’ first stint as Turkey national team coach, he took the team to a third place finish in FIFA World Cup 2002 and even in the FIFA Confederations Cup the following year, they finished third.
Turkey were in Group H of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying and finished second behind France in their group. Turkey won seven out of their 10 qualifying games and lost only one (to Iceland). They beat France 2-0 in a qualifying game and drew 1-1 in the other. Under Guenes, Turkey scored 18 goals in the qualifying campaign and conceded only thrice.
Guenes has been in Turkey for almost all of his managerial career, managing teams like Trabzonspor, Boluspor, Istanbulspor, Antalyaspor, Sakaryaspor, Bursaspor and Besiktas. From 2007-2009 was the only time he was outside Turkey when he managed FC Seoul. He won the Super Lig with Besiktas in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons and has finished runners-up with Trabzonspor on four occasions.
WALES: ROBERT PAGE
Wales are on a precarious situation with their manager Ryan Giggs on the sidelines awaiting a verdict in a trial on him for alleged violence against two women. With Giggs away, Rob Page is the caretaker manager of the team and has so far, overseen two victories in the UEFA Nations League, that secured the team’s promotion to League A. Wales have played seven matches with him in charge and have won four of those. His win percentage stands at 57.1.
Back in December 2015, Page had divulged his preferred tactics, wherein he wants attacking full backs that play high up the pitch, wants his defensive midfielder to ally with the central midfielder and requires pace on the wings and up front. Apart from the caretaker role he is playing at Wales, he has managed Wales U21, Northampton Town and Port Vale. He managed Port Vale for 93 games, winning 35 of them.