Fernando Santos is well known in the international football world, having led Greece to a very respectable last 16 (and nearly last 8) position in the FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil. He takes over now as Head Coach of Portugal after the departure of Paulo Bento, due to a disappointing World Cup and a bad start to the Euro 2016 qualifyers.
60 years old in October, Fernando Santos had a short playing career (at Benfica as a youth from 1966 to 1971, then at Marítimo from 1971 to 1973 and Estrela da Amadora from 1973 to 1975, as a right back), before taking on Estoril Praia as Head Coach (1987 to 1994), then Estrela da Amadora (1994-1998) and FC Porto (1998-2001), all in Portugal. He then moved to Greece where he was Head Coach of AEK Athens (2001-2002) and Panathinaikos (2002-2003), moving back to Portugal to coach Sporting CP from 2003-2004. He went back to Greece (AEK Athens 2004-2006) then back to Portugal (Benfica 2006-2007), before returning to Greece again to coach PAOK from 2007-2010, before he was appointed the Greek National Team Head Coach, where he worked from 2010 to 2014.
He won six titles: Portugal's Primeira Liga in 1998-1999, the Portuguese Cup in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 and the Portuguese Super Cup in 1999 and 2000. In Greece he won the Greek Cup with AEK Athens in 2002. He was also voted Greece Superleague Manager of the Year four times, in 2001-2002, 2004-2005, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.
In exactly four years, Fernando Santos saw Greece through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 and to the last 16 in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014. In 49 games, he won 26, drew 17 and lost just 6, with 56 goals scored and 36 conceded, a goal difference on +20 and a win percentage of 53%.
His challenge in Portugal will be to take a talented group of individual players, who are high wage earners and who have millionaire contracts with their clubs and many of them, ties to the same agent, turn them into a team which plays with more humility and determination, selflessly and with some pride for their shirt, and slam his fist on the table every time there is interference from any influences outside his managerial team, for instance from people in the Portuguese Football Federation or agents.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now