Recently-departed Germany boss Joachim Low is reportedly among the targets being considered by the Russian football authorities should they ditch current manager Stanislav Cherchesov following the team’s Euro 2020 failure.
Russia fell at the first hurdle of this summer’s European football showpiece, finishing bottom of their group with just one win from their three matches.
Cherchesov’s team had headed into their final group game against Denmark in Copenhagen with what appeared to be a decent chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, only to endure a 4-1 battering from the rampant hosts.
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Speculation has since swirled as to whether Cherchesov – a hero in guiding the team to the World Cup quarter-finals on home soil three years ago – is the right man to take the team forward.
According to reports in Russia, the national football authorities were initially mulling a host of domestic candidates to potentially take over from the increasingly under-fire Cherchesov.
However, each of the three names mentioned – Zenit St. Petersburg boss Sergei Semak, Rostov manager Valeri Karpin, and Rubin Kazan coach Leonid Slutsky – are said to have rejected any advances.
Another name touted is Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas, who left French club Marseilles in February and previously guided Zenit to the Russian Premier League title in 2015 during a two-year spell at the club.
However, a new name being thrown into the hat is Low, who left his post as Germany manager this summer after 15 years in the job.
Given his track record as a World Cup winner, Low is bound to have suitors at both club and international level – and according to Russian outlet Championat, citing sources, the German is on a ‘short list’ of candidates being considered by the Russian Football Union (RFU), should they dispense with Cherchesov.
World Cup winner Low had confirmed his impending Germany exit before Euro 2020 and is being replaced by ex-Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick, but failed to finish on a high as Germany were beaten by England in the last 16 of the tournament.
Following Die Mannschaft’s exit, the 61-year-old Low said he had no intention of retiring despite his lengthy tenure as national team boss.
“I never talked about retirement. There are definitely new tasks that are interesting for me…,” Low said.
“An emotional break is important for me, I’ve been so long with Germany, you don’t look around for something new straight away.
“I also have to accept the disappointment and the emptiness that comes [with leaving].
“You don’t shake off a tournament like this in the first few days, it will take time.”
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 30, 2021
Feted after the World Cup, current Russia boss Cherchesov now finds himself under intense criticism from fans and pundits for the limp showing at Euro 2020.
The 57-year-old former international goalkeeper is on a reported €2.5 million ($3 million) a year – making him among the highest-earning coaches at Euro 2020 – but has been accused of failing to blood young Russian talent and deploying stodgy, uninspiring tactics.
That was laid bare at Euro 2020, where Russia were hammered 3-0 by Belgium in their opening game before scraping a 1-0 win against Finland and then being routed by the Danes.
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A tetchy Cherchesov gave a lengthy and at-times rambling press conference in the wake of Russia’s failure, admitting that the team had fallen short of expectations but refusing to resign.
Cherchesov has described his job as “state business” and says he intends to complete the contract he has been handed until the end of 2022, which would mean leading the team to the Qatar World Cup, should they qualify.
But it remains to be seen if he will be given that long, with the likes of Low reportedly being eyed by Cherchesov’s bosses.