In charge since 2006, Joachim Löw has signed a new contract which commits him to coach Germany until the end of their UEFA EURO 2020 campaign.
Should he complete his mission he will have been in charge for 14 years, matching the terms served by West Germany bosses Helmut Schön and Sepp Herberger. He is already the longest-serving of any of the current European national-team coaches.
“When your head and your heart both say yes, there is not much to think about,” said the 56-year-old Löw, the longest-serving current coach of any UEFA national-team side. “Developing this team and these players and trying to take them to the highest level is a real joy – it is as much an incentive for me as winning a title. Our sole focus for now is qualifying for the 2018 World Cup as group winners.”
German Football Association (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel added: “Löw is the best coach we could imagine for our team.” UEFA.com introduces the other coaches on the continent’s all-time longest-serving list.
19: Vittorio Pozzo (Italy, 1929–48)
Having gained a passion for football while studying in England, Pozzo – who died in 1968 – worked with Italy at the 1912 and 1924 Olympics before becoming the first Azzurri coach proper in 1929, leading them to glory at the 1934 and 1938 FIFA World Cups. He was a pioneering tactician whose innovations included the Azzurri’s first pre-match training camps. “I want players I can trust so I can work with a group of men who are both physically and mentally strong,” he explained.
18: Hugo Meisl (Austria, 1919–37)
One of the most colourful characters in Austrian football history, Meisl was the architect of the Austria ‘Wunderteam’ of the early 1930s. Before a game against Scotland he famously told reporters that he would of course choose his lineup according to their wishes. His side won 5-0 and he was never doubted again. A visionary, Meisl was also a successful football administrator, working as general secretary of the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) as well as a FIFA delegate prior to his premature death in 1937.
16: Paul Philipp (Luxembourg, 1985–2001)
Capped 54 times, the former Avenir Beggen, Standard Liège and Charleroi player went straight from the pitch to the bench, taking charge of Luxembourg at the age of 35. His tenure included a celebrated EURO ’96 qualifying campaign in which his squad registered three wins – two against Malta, and more famously a 1-0 success against the Czech Republic. He continues to serve the national game as head of the Luxembourg Football Federation (FLF), with youth development his main priority.
16: Walter Winterbottom (England, 1946–62)
England’s first, youngest and longest-serving manager, Winterbottom did not pick the team – that was still the job of the Football Association (FA) selection committee – but guided England to four consecutive World Cups from 1950. The one-time Manchester United player – who died in 2002 – pioneered tactics and analysis in his home country, with future England boss Ron Greenwood saying: “If you went on a course with Walter you came away thinking he was the messiah because he’d open your eyes.”
15: Morten Olsen (Denmark, 2000–15)
Capped 102 times as a defensive midfielder cum sweeper, Olsen captained his side at two UEFA European Championships, and steered his nation to two more EUROs and two World Cups as a coach, notably reaching the last eight at UEFA EURO 2004. Former Denmark captain Lars Jacobsen reckoned Olsen a class act: “Morten is probably the most clear-minded coach I have ever had, and the coach who has been the most focused on every detail of how to approach a match.”
15: Giampaolo Mazza (San Marino, 1998–2013)
San Marino posted just one competitive point during Mazza’s tenure, a 1-1 draw with Latvia in Riga in 2002 World Cup qualifying. “It was an epic result but also a deceptive one,” he recalled. “It gave me the false impression that everything was going to get much easier.” It did not, though Mazza’s San Marino pulled off another coup in 2004, claiming their first victory – in a friendly against Liechtenstein – and he retired with the team much stronger than when he arrived.
15: Bob Glendinning (Netherlands, 1925–40)
A right-half for Barnsley, the Englishman played a huge role in the development of the Oranje at a time when a committee of selectors chose the side and all his players were amateurs. “If I had these players to train twice a week, they could become a strong team,” Glendinning remembered thinking, and he successfully directed them to the 1934 and 1938 World Cups. He died in 1940, aged 52, having left the Netherlands due to the outbreak of the Second World War.
14: Helmut Schön (West Germany, 1964–78)
Schön, who died in 1996, coached West Germany to glory at the 1972 UEFA European Championship and the 1974 World Cup, and remains his country’s most successful national-team boss. A former international himself, Schön thought the key to a flourishing squad was to allow great players to express themselves. “They have to form an ensemble and not a collective that aims for success by doing things by the book,” he explained.
14: Sepp Herberger (West Germany, 1950–64)
The mastermind behind the ‘Miracle of Berne’ – West Germany’s 3-2 win over Hungary in the 1954 World Cup final – Herberger managed the national team both sides of the Second World War, becoming West Germany’s first post-war coach. Fastidious and hard-working, the coach – who died in 1977 – did not like leaving things to chance, and is still remembered for spade-is-a-spade witticisms like “the ball is round”, “a game lasts 90 minutes” and “the ball has the most stamina”.
13: Billy Bingham (Northern Ireland, 1980–94)
Bingham played for Northern Ireland at the 1958 World Cup and was their manager from 1967–71 before embarking on his lengthy second spell in 1980. ‘Bingy’ earned his place in national footballing folklore by leading Northern Ireland to the World Cups of 1982 – where remarkably they beat hosts Spain 1-0 – and 1986. “We had a small pool of players, so I was resourceful,” said the former Everton player and boss. “I found out what a player was good at and I emphasised it. I never laboured on deficiencies.”
13: Guy Thys (Belgium, 1976–89)
The cigar-smoking former Beerschot and Standard Liège forward helped make Belgium a force to contend with in the 1980s, getting to the final of the 1980 UEFA European Championship and coming close to the 1986 World Cup decider too, losing to Argentina in the semis. “Maradona, and he alone, made the difference,” Thys said afterwards. He coached Belgium for a second stint from 1990–91, and died in 2003.
Other coaches who have had single tenures of more than ten years with European nations.
12: Olavi Laaksonen (Finland, 1962–74)
11: Sepp Piontek (Denmark, 1979–1990)
11: Sir Alf Ramsey (England, 1963–74)
11: Georg Buschner (East Germany, 1970–81)
11: Enzo Bearzot (Italy, 1975–86)
11: Peter Doherty (Northern Ireland, 1951–62)
11: José María Matos (Spain, 1922–33)
10: Joachim Löw (2006-present)
10: David Rodrigo (Andorra, 1999–2009)
Figures accurate as of 31 October 2016