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Portugal coach Santos leaves job after World Cup exit




Fernando Santos has left his job as Portugal coach after his team lost to Morocco in the World Cup quarter-finals, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) said on Thursday.

The Portuguese suffered a shock 1-0 defeat by Morocco in Qatar on Saturday, after Santos started the match by leaving the country’s all-time record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo on the substitutes’ bench.

In an emotional video message, Santos said that being Portugal’s coach was a “dream come true” and a “life goal” he fulfilled.

“When you lead groups, you have to make some difficult decisions,” he added. “It’s normal that not everyone was happy with the choices I made but the decisions I took were always thinking about what would be best for our team.”

In a statement, the FPF said both parties agreed to terminate the contract as it was the “right moment to start a new cycle”.


Santos, who has been widely criticised for his tactics, became Portugal coach in 2014 and led the country in 109 matches. They won the European Championship in 2016 and UEFA’s inaugural Nations League in 2018-19

Mourinho arrived earlier on Thursday in Portugal’s southern region, where AS Roma will play three friendlies, but remained silent when questioned by reporters about Santos’ succession.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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