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International Eagles: Hodgson's Three Other National Jobs

15 July 2018

Throughout the World Cup, we have been looking back at the international careers of various Palace players. On the final day of the competition, we take a look at Roy Hodgson’s international managerial career, away from his time as England boss.

Understandably, Palace fans will familiar with Roy Hodgson’s four years in charge of England where he managed the Three Lions in three major tournaments, two of which he helped them to qualify for while keeping an unbeaten record.

However, what is less known are some of his other achievements on the international stage over the past three decades. Here, we take a look at his three other spells at the helm of national teams, and get the thoughts of those who worked under him at the time.

Switzerland – 1992-1995

Hodgson’s first foray into international management saw him take the Swiss national job in 1993. Having not been to a major tournament for 28 years, Switzerland qualified for the 1994 World Cup by topping a tough group that included Italy, Portugal and Scotland and reaching third-place in the FIFA rankings.

In the finals, Switzerland were one of the revelations of the competition as they drew with the USA in the opening game and thrashed Romania 4-1 to reach the last-16 for the first time, where they were eliminated by Spain. After then guiding them to qualification for Euro 96, Hodgson left before the tournament to take the reins at Inter Milan.

Swiss legend Alain Sutter: “I think the job Roy did was very important. He was the man who put all the new ideas in. It was sometimes tough, he pushed us to the limit but we were successful. I didn’t think I would play in a World Cup but we had a group of talented players and a good coach. It was a big adventure and the highlight of our careers.”

Ex-Bayern Munich and Inter Milan midfielder Ciriaco Sforza: "Qualifying for the 1994 World Cup aroused a certain euphoria throughout our football federation down to the youth level that had a long-lasting effect. Before Roy managed the national side, I believe only two players played abroad, now it's a totally different situation. Roy is definitely seen as hero In Switzerland.”

United Arab Emirates - 2002-2004

In 2002 Hodgson moved to the Middle East to take charge of the UAE, and would guide them through qualification to the 2004 Asian Cup. However ahead of the tournament he oversaw his team to a fifth-place finish in the Gulf Cup, and despite boasting a 50% win ratio in competitive games, he departed in January 2004.

UAE captain at the time Mohammed Omar: "He had a system to build on a young team but unfortunately all his work were undone by the poor results, and then as usual, the pressure was on the coach from the fans, media and everyone else."

Yousef Al Serkal, president of the UAE FA: "From what I remember he didn't have a good opportunity of preparing his team for any tournament. There were no training camps and players were not made available to him. It must have been difficult for him to build the right atmosphere."

Finland – 2006-2007

Hodgson took over a country who had never reached a major finals in their history, but he very nearly took them to Euro 2008 despite being drawn in a tough group containing Poland, Portugal, Belgium and Serbia.

It came down to a final game against the Portuguese which was drawn 0-0, but had Finland scored they’d have made it through to the championships. In 2012 he was knighted by the country for his services to the national football team.

Finish defender Hannu Tihinen: “From the first day he gave a lot of confidence to the players and we played really well. We played a 4-4-2 and the backline was the most important thing. Everything started from the back – how can we do it better and get clean sheets?

“It was the best thing for our national team. He knew almost everything about the opposition and it must help that he has so many contacts in the whole of Europe. I think one of his strengths is when he came here he really put all the pieces together.”

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