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2022 World Cup | Managerial vacancy emerges as Fernando Santos is sacked by Portugal

Santos guided A Seleçao to two tournament wins during his eight-year tenure, with the FPF already considering two key names to become his successor

A new era is set to begin for Portugal after the FPF (Portuguese Football Federation) parted ways with long-time head coach Fernando Santos with immediate effect.

Santos, 68, has been patrolling the touchline in Lisbon for eight years while guiding A Seleçao through their greatest period on the international stage on the back of their win at Euro 2016 as well as their triumph in the 2019 UEFA Nations League; their only tournament wins on record.

Many billed Portugal as capable of making a deep run at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to the wealth of talent; arguably the nation’s best-ever overall crop of ability ever assembled. But success would not be found this winter irrespective of Santos’ men topping Group H.

Portugal produced one of the best overall displays of the entire tournament when they trounced Switzerland 6-1 in the round of sixteen, solidifying their position at the time as a real candidate to make a run to the final after SL Benfica starlet Gonçalo Ramos replaced iconic figure Cristiano Ronaldo after his antics in the wake of being subbed-off early during Portugal’s 2-1 loss to South Korea to close out group play.

Ramos’ hat-trick against Murat Yakin’s men then led to his being selected against Morocco in the quarterfinals with Ronaldo once again on the bench, but Ramos was a shadow of the youngster that starred previously, and despite Ronaldo being called into action, Morocco held on to make history while sending Portugal crashing out.

Whether you side with Santos or not over his treatment of Ronaldo (which he stated he had no regrets over), what cannot be denied is that the Lisbon native and former centerback will likely go down as his nation’s greatest-ever head coach, and how his steady leadership across nearly a decade is replaced will make or break the nations second ‘golden generation.’

With qualifying for Euro 2024 set to begin in March, Portugal is sure to make a decision in the coming weeks.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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