Santos new Portugal coach
LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Fernando Santos is taking over as Portugal coach, despite his eight-game international ban for misconduct at the World Cup.
The former Greece coach replaces Paulo Bento, who quit two weeks ago after a run of poor results, the Portuguese Football Federation said in a brief statement on its website on Tuesday.
The 59-year-old Portuguese will be presented at a news conference on Wednesday, the statement said, but gave no further information.
FIFA banned Santos in August for verbally abusing match officials in Brazil while coaching Greece. Santos is appealing that ban, with a ruling expected this week. Santos, who was due to leave the Greece job after the tournament, was banished from the dugout after extra time of a second-round match against Costa Rica, which finished 1-1. His team then lost the penalty shootout.
Santos needs to rally a Portugal team that disappointed at the World Cup, where it went home after the first round, and then lost 1-0 to Albania this month in its opening European Championship qualifier. Portugal’s next match in its campaign is against Denmark on Oct. 14.
Santos has built a reputation for rescuing troubled teams. He took over a Greece that was in the doldrums after the 2012 World Cup, and racked up an unbeaten run in his first 15 months on the job. He picked talented youngsters and introduced a more attacking style, often deploying three strikers.
That is the kind of makeover Portugal needs, with fans demanding more playing time for a younger crop of players, more goals, and less dependence on star Cristiano Ronaldo, who sat out the Albania match.
Before joining Greece in 2010, Santos coached Portuguese clubs Porto and Benfica, and AEK Athens, Panathinakos, and PAOK in Greece.