“Following a lackluster performance in the group stage, Ivory Coast, the host of Afcon, dismissed their coach Jean-Louis Gasset. However, it was later revealed that they had still managed to qualify for the last 16. Has there ever been a case of a coach being fired during an international tournament? And if yes, what is the highest achievement for a coach or interim coach who was appointed during the tournament?” inquired Grant Ninnes.
Gasset is not the initial coach to receive a red card during a tournament, although many of his predecessors were fired after two group matches and with their team already eliminated. Two similar incidents occurred during the 1998 World Cup. Tunisia dismissed Henryk Kasperczak after the humiliating losses against England and Colombia in their first two group matches, despite both being closely contested. Ali Selmi took over for the final match against Romania’s newly blonde squad, securing an impressive 1-1 draw.
Shaun Manning, a writer covering the tournament, reported that South Korea fired their coach, Cha Bum-kun, after their first two matches. They lost 3-1 to Mexico and 5-0 to the Netherlands. The team’s new coach, Kim Pyung-seok, led them to a 1-1 draw with Belgium, and both teams advanced to the next round.
One year later, Nigeria was the host country for the Fifa World Youth Championship, which was then known as the Under-20 World Cup. According to Opeyemi Ajala, Tunde Disu, who had previously managed the team when they were runners-up 10 years before, was dismissed due to a poor performance in the group stage. This ultimately led to a loss in their final group match against Paraguay. The senior national team manager, Thijs Libregts, was brought in to take over the tournament. He was able to secure a victory in the round-of-16 match against Ireland on penalties, but unfortunately lost in the quarter-finals to Mali with a score of 3-1.
Gasser’s replacement, Emerse Faé, has taken his team to the semi-finals despite them being on the brink on multiple occasions. If you can beat that, let us know.
Hosts with the least
Pablo Miguez ponders, “After watching Ivory Coast’s 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea, I am curious about the largest defeats suffered by host countries in major tournaments.”
The greatest margin of victory, according to the Richter scale, will forever be the astonishing 2014 World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany, with a score of 1-7. The outcome could have been even more devastating if the German players hadn’t shown mercy in the second half. However, this is not the most severe loss. Prior to discussing that, Dirk Maas and Peter Tomlin provided a compilation of the largest defeats in each continental men’s competition.
In the group stage matches, Russia lost 0-3 to Belgium and Hungary lost 0-3 to Portugal in 2020.
Africa Cup of Nations
In the group stage of the 2023 Ivory Coast vs. Equatorial Guinea match, Equatorial Guinea won with a score of 4-0.
The Copa América is also known as the South American Championship.
In 1959, Uruguay defeated Ecuador with a score of 4-0 in a round robin match.
In the semi-final match, Argentina defeated USA with a score of 4-0 in 2016.
Fifa Confederations Cup
In the group stage of the 1997 FIFA World Cup, Mexico defeated Saudi Arabia with a score of 5-0.
In the 2001 World Cup group stage, France defeated South Korea with a score of 5-0.
AFC Asian Cup
In the group stage of the 2007 Malaysia tournament, Uzbekistan defeated Malaysia 5-0.
Rollo Treadway mentioned that the tournament had four co-hosts, which is uncommon. Malaysia did not score any points and had a goal difference of -11. Thailand was eliminated in the first round after a 4-0 loss to Australia, but Vietnam managed to advance to the last 16 despite a 4-1 defeat against Japan. Indonesia also faced early elimination, but they only narrowly lost to Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
Concacaf Gold Cup
In 2009, the final score was Mexico 5, USA 0.
South American Championship
In 1947, Uruguay defeated Ecuador with a score of 6-1 in a round robin match.
In 1971, Haiti defeated Trinidad & Tobago with a score of 6-0 during a round robin match.
OFC Nations Cup
In 1980, during the group stage, Australia defeated New Caledonia with a score of 8-0.
Peter’s note mentions New Caledonia’s record-breaking 8-0 loss in a major men’s international competition. However, despite this defeat, they placed second in their group due to an 8-0 win against Papua New Guinea. They ultimately earned the bronze medal by defeating Fiji 2-1 in the third-place match.
Jack Hayward has managed to almost double New Caledonia’s defeat. “Back in 2003, North Korea was one of a handful of countries in Asia that had a functioning women’s football league,” he writes. “They won the AFC Women’s Championship that year, dissecting Singapore 16-0, Hong Kong 13-0 and – most pertinently for us – host nation Thailand 14-0 in the group stage.
The lowest scoring host performance during the elimination rounds was seen in the 1989 competition, where Hong Kong was defeated 9-0 by Japan in the third-place match. This came after a 7-0 loss against China in the semi-final.
Not having magic
“Karl Dayson inquires whether this season has seen the lowest number of teams from lower divisions make it to the fourth round of the FA Cup, with only Maidstone United (National League South), Wrexham, and Newport County (both League Two) remaining after Blackpool’s elimination. No teams from League One have advanced.”
Paul Carver was instrumental in this situation. “After analyzing the statistics for FA Cups post-WWII (which closely resemble the current format), I have discovered the following,” he writes via email.
In 1947, a team known as Port Vale competed.
In 1983, there were two competing teams: Swindon and Torquay.
In 1995, three teams (Burnley, Swansea, Wrexham) were involved.
Maidstone is the initial team to advance to the next level.
In the opposite extreme, there were 11 teams that made it to the fourth round in 1970, 1986, 2008, and 2011 and were able to continue on.
In 2012, Nick Best pondered if a club had ever attempted to publicly remove a player they deemed inadequate, only to later rely on them in a time of necessity, leading to the player becoming a key member of the team and even a beloved figure in the club’s history.
“When Paul Merson was the manager of Walsall, he made a disastrous decision to loan out a young center back for almost the entire 2005-06 season,” Tom Lines explained. “After the player returned from loan spells at Danish club Koge BK and local Conference North teams Redditch United and Hednesford Town, Merson wanted him to be released. However, Merson’s firing saved the player from being let go and he was given a three-month contract to prove himself. That player was Scott Dann, who went on to play a vital role in Walsall’s League Two championship-winning team the following season. In January 2008, he was transferred to Coventry City for £1 million. He has since been transferred to Birmingham City and Blackburn, making him the most expensive home-grown player in Walsall’s history, with a reported sale price of over £10.5 million.”
Can you help?
Eddie Eyers points out that Nene Dorgeles chose not to rejoice after scoring a goal for Mali during their intense defeat at the Afcon against Ivory Coast, his parents’ country of origin. He inquires if there are other instances of this legendary restrained celebration in international matches.
According to Andy Pechey, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu has played at 85 out of the 92 grounds in the top four divisions during his and Luton’s journey up the pyramid. Is this a new record, or have any other players achieved this feat, or even played at all 92 grounds? Any technicalities regarding new grounds or teams that were previously part of the 92 but got relegated are acceptable, but any path to completing the full set is satisfactory.
Ricardio Sentulio wonders if there have been any other players who have had two worse debut performances in one season, like Everton’s Mason Holgate who suffered 5-0 losses while on loan at Southampton and Sheffield United.
Barry Devlin posed a question about the player who has spent the most time on the bench in the Premier League era, excluding goalkeepers. He mentioned seeing Callum Chambers on the bench recently and wondered if he could be a top contender.
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