Poles opt for Fernando Santos to lead Euro 2024 push

January 25 – Fernando Santos will lead the Polish national team, his appointment coming a month after getting dismissed by Portugal following their World Cup quarter-final exit.

The Polish FA had reportedly been in talks with Paulo Bento, who managed South Korea at the 2022 World Cup.

“We wanted a coach who already had experience in leading a national team, so that he would not have to learn on the job,” said Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza. “But above all, we wanted a successful coach. Such a coach was appointed today.”

Santos led Portugal to their maiden European crown in 2016 when they defeated hosts France 1-0 in the final of the continental championship.

It was a victory based on organisation and grit and Portugal went on to win the first edition of the Nations League. However, those heights were never reached again with a second-round exit at Euro 2020 and a last-eight departure in Qatar where Santos dropped Cristiano Ronaldo. He was dismissed after the tournament.

“I pay great attention to two words – ‘us’ and ‘win’,” said Santos. “We will have to get used to winning, because I think this national team has what it takes to be able to compete with any big team.”

In Poland, he succeeds Czeslaw Michniewicz who guided the country to the round of 16 at the last World Cup, progressing from a group with Argentina, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, but Michniewicz was often criticised at home for his defensive approach.

Santos has been tasked with leading Poland to Euro 2024 in Germany.

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