As you’ve heard countless times at The Shin Guardian, one of our favorite expressions is, “You can’t look at an observation in isolation, you need to look at the whole body of work.”
A heady and applicable statement when evaluating two-goal Conor Casey games in San Pedro Sula, Robbie Findley at Nottingham Forest, and Edgar Castillo at leftback last week.
A sister expression to the aforementioned might as well be, “Blanket statements are fun for media distribution, but the underlying story doesn’t always match.”
A great example here may be, “Michael Bradley has won playing time every club he’s went to.” Of course, that generalization came to abrupt end with Michael Bradley’s abbreviated tenure at Aston Villa.
Previously Bradley had been with a mere three clubs (a small number of observations), the defunct MLS MetroStars (where his father was the coach), Heerenveen (where he started), and Borussia Mönchengladbach
where he again started.
Bradley’s tenure with Aston Villa came to end after failing to win a single starting role in league competition.
But does that tell the story? Bradley from eye witness accounts was considered a step slow for the Prem (true or untrue), but was the Junior Bradley the victim of a numbers game, a new manager, a casualty of the homegrown rule or did ‘Gladbach
ask for too much for Bradley? Should Bradley be considered a C – C+ player now because he earned a starting spot at three out of now four pitstops?
Hardly fair, but a muddled picture nonetheless.
Taking a look at another broad billboard axiom–this one, “No foreign coach has won the World Cup”–shows its obvious truth, but also adds some color that would seem to suggest that a Jurgen Klinsmann hire for the United States should not be cast in a negative light just because he is foreign.
Here’s what we did. TSG took a look at the past 10 men’s World Cups (1978 – 2010) in attempt to just add a little bit more clarity to that statement.
What we found:
• Since 1978, the trend of foreign managers directing international sides at the World Cup has continued to increase, from a low of about 6% in 1978 to about 37% in 2010. This would seem to suggest that FAs are more comfortable going outside of their nationality to compete at the highest stage.
• If you consider the following clubs as the true powerhouses of the international game: Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, the Netherlands….
….only one of these teams employed a foreign coach during a World Cup….and he came in a runner-up in 1978. Ernst Happel managed the Netherlands to the #2 spot in 1978.
Conclusion: Might have a better shot at a foreign coach winning the World Cup if he, you know, managed a powerhouse team.
• Continually, there have been 8 teams that have won the World Cup (Brazil, Italy, West Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, France, England and Spain). Only one outlier–England–has employed a foreign coach during the last 10 World Cups.
(Note, Uruguay had Argentine Daniel Passarella (now president of River Plate) as head coach during qualifying of World Cup 2002, but he resigned given inability to get players into the squad.)
• In fact, the strongest teams to employ a foreign coach during the last 10 World Cups would have to be: (that aforementioned) Happel with Netherlands in 1978, Bora Milutinovic with an oleo of teams if you will (Mexico, Nigeria, Costa Rica and the United States), South Korea who astonished with Guus Hiddink in 2002 and, of course, Sven Goran-Erickson’s merry-go-rounds with England.
• Taking it one step further (and this is highly subjective). There have been 232 coaching stints at the World Cup from 1978 through 2010. 65 of them were instances of a foreign national coach. That’s 28%…not bad for a potential win, right?
Wrong? By our count only 13 of them or 5.6% overall were instances where a foreign national coach had even of a sliver of a shot of making the title game and 3 of those 13 were teams manned by serial foreign helmsman Milutinonovic.
(For your own review of which managers were guiding “able” teams, enclosed here is a list of all managers at all men’s World Cups from 1978-2010.)
So, “No Foreign Coach Has Won a World Cup.”
Sure it’s a true statement, but is a 5.6% shot really legit?
Maybe 2014 changes that?