In a rare break from the CM9798 World Cup, let’s not forget there’s a real World Cup this summer…
The World Cup is coming! Whilst that is no secret, it posed a new challenge for me. You may have seen my articles earlier in the season where I looked for players in CM9798 that are still playing today and then located all of the current Premier League managers, so it was only natural that I’d try and tie the World Cup back to a game from 20 years ago.
If you’re a fan of tedious links and players from the 90s, this is the article for you. If you’re looking for a team to follow this summer, why not do it based on CM9798?
This is an easy start as manager Stanislav Cherchesov was still playing in CM9798 as a goalkeeper at Tirol Innsbruck. He played 39 times for his country and will be hoping to lead the host nation to glory this summer.
Cherchesov has been tasked with reaching at least the semi-finals and having watched the Confederations Cup last summer, I’d say that is very optimistic. He’s not a bad keeper though.
His assistant is also on the game; you’ll find Miroslav Romaschenko pulling the strings in the Spartak Moscow midfield. He’s not quick but he can run forever…and boy can he shoot.
Group A keeps serving me up open goals, frankly it is all downhill from here. Saudi Arabia are managed by Juan Antonio Pizzi. Who? Well he was at Barcelona in the 90s but because he isn’t Ronaldo, Anderson or Stoichkov nobody remembers him. He got 22 caps for his country and went to World Cup 98. I actually really like him on 9798, his high shooting stat is ideal in a team where Rivaldo and Figo are supplying the bullets.
In management, he was Chile manager at the Confederations Cup last year but after losing the final, Chile then failed to qualify for this year’s tournament. Whilst the rest of that Chile team will watch from home, Pizzi will lead Saudi Arabia into the tournament.
This was a little trickier, but their manager is Hector Cuper. You can find Hector in CM9798 managing Real Mallorca.
What I was really surprised about is that Cuper is only 62. He has of course had a very successful coaching career having managed Valencia and Inter Milan among others. The Argentine has been Egypt manager for 3 years and is armed with Mo Salah, which I imagine will make the Egyptians very popular on Merseyside.
On a similar note, the best I can offer you from Uruguay is their manager Oscar Tabarez. He’s also been managing forever and 20 years ago you could find him at Real Oviedo under his Sunday name.
This is actually his second spell in charge of Uruguay having also taken them to Italia 90, though he has been in charge since 2006. It is widely anticipated he will leave after the World Cup, though he must be happy with the group he has been drawn here. Luis Suarez is licking his lips (figuratively, I hope).
Euro 2016 winners Portugal are managed by Fernando Santos who you’ll find in CM9798 managing Estrela Amadora. They’re in the top league in Portugal but are very midtable. For a change of pace, here he is from the database. He likes to play a narrow 4-4-2 apparently. He doesn’t have Cristiano Ronaldo in 1997 though so he’s not as successful.
Good news! Spain’s manager was playing in CM9798. Julen Lopetegui had just grown tired of sitting on Barcelona’s bench behind Carlos Busquets and left for Rayo Vallecano. Here he is in playing form:
We may as well make this a double whammy and point out that the aforementioned Busquets is the father of Spain midfielder Sergio. How lovely. Here’s Carlos too for your viewing pleasure:
French manager Herve Renard is nowhere to be found on CM9798, so some digging was required. Thankfully, Renard did the old FM trick of appointing a favourite to get some favour from the fans. Happily for me, it’s Mustapha Hadji
A few years before Hadji moved to Coventry, he was delivering apparently terrible set pieces in Deportivo. Now though he’ll be one of the two assistant managers at Morocco this summer. Good luck, in a group containing Portugal and Spain.
The links between the teams in this group are uncanny. Iran are managed by Carlos Queiroz, who is of course Portugese and probably best known in Premier League terms as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant. Carlos was between jobs in 1997/98 but again he’s done me a huge favour by appointing Oceano da Cruz as his assistant. Who you ask? Let me remove his surname
He’s a star player for Sporting Lisbon! Looking at his stats I’m not really sure what that says about Sporting Lisbon, but he’s experienced. With that influence figure he must have always known he could go on to be Iran’s assistant manager.
Nice bit of symmetry starts us off in group C, as France are managed by Didier Deschamps. The former Juventus midfielder captained France to victory in the 1998 World Cup, so obviously he’s my link to the past here.
As a World Cup winner it’s hardly surprising to see such great stats, although I suppose at the time of the games release he was just plain old France captain. Incidentally he is assisted by Guy Stephan who is the Bordeaux manager in CM9798. Pointless fact for you there.
I think Group C was the kindest group to research. Bert Van Marwijk is the manager of Australia, though you may know him as the man who masterminded the Dutch kicking everything that moved in the 2010 World Cup. Anyway, in CM9798 Bert is the Fortuna Sittard manager. So what? Well, he was manager of Mark Van Bommel there, and he’s only gone and appointed Mark as his assistant!
For that, I am very grateful. As Van Bommel’s career went on he dropped the whole “being a striker” thing and just focused on scoring blasties from well outside the box. For conspiracy theorists, he is actually Van Marwijk’s son in law. Jobs for the boys?
Peru are lead by Argentine Ricardo Gareca, who was managing in Argentina in 1997 so didn’t make the cut for CM9798. Not to worry, a little digging tells me what none other than Premier League legend Nobby Solano is on the coaching staff. Despite his relatively small stature, Solano is classified as a centre half.
Solano’s official title is “assistant technical director” which hopefully involves him playing his trumpet at half time, or any time for that matter. Personally I’d have him training the set pieces. 14 does not do him justice.
If I asked you to name a Danish goalkeeper from the 90s, most of you would say Peter Schmeichel. He is one of my links, but there is also a goalkeeper by the name of Sten Christensen. Here he is in CM9798:
As you may have guessed, he is the father of Andreas Christensen, who has made a name for himself at Chelsea this season and should find himself in the Denmark squad this summer. So that’s two Danish Goalkeepers with their sons in the current day squad. Here’s Peter, father of Kasper, for completeness sake:
I mentioned in the intro that some of these links were tedious at best and this is probably the worst. I hunted high and low to find a proper link and this is the best I could do. Manager Jorge Sampaoli is off the grid in 1997 with his coaching career still at an early stage following a young retirement due to injury. With him out and his backroom staff offering little inspiration to me, I had to start digging through the squad to find a link back to 1997.
Step forward Sergio Aguero. The Man City forward was married to Gianinna Maradona, daughter of Diego, and together they have a son. It’s not the point that they are now divorced. Maradona is the grandad of Aguero’s kid and that’s good enough for me.
Maradona is just about on CM9798 having left Boca Juniors in 1997 he remains in the database on a free transfer. They couldn’t even be bothered to research his caps. Let’s move on.
This is more like it. We all fell in love with Iceland during Euro 2016, even when they knocked England out it was hard to be mad at them. You may also some famous commentary being uttered at full time in that match. Well, that commentator was Guðmundur Benediktsson
I know that isn’t a link. I’m getting to that. His son is Albert Guðmundsson who plays for PSV and is a full Icelandic International. I really hope, after all of this, he makes the final squad.
Another assistant manager comes good. Zlatko Dalic is Croatia’s manager and he was playing for Hajduk Split in 1997, but he didn’t make the CM9798 database. Luckily he has an assistant who did, and you’ll find Drazen Ladic at Croatia Zagreb. I’m sure it’s not a point of contention that Ladic is on the database and Dalic isn’t. They presumably have better things to argue about.
Another straightforward one. If you’ve ever watched Alex Iwobi and thought “that’s like watching Jay-Jay Okocha in his prime” then you are probably lying. They are however, related, as Okocha is Iwobi’s uncle. Imagine having an uncle Jay-Jay. Or maybe that should be Uncle Augustine
Sadly there isn’t a stat for ‘rainbow flicks’ or whatever they are being called these days but that creativity of 13 seems a little light. Maybe he just got all his creativity from Big Sam? Either way, if Iwobi turns out to be half as good as Okocha was he’ll be just fine.
Considering their rich history and the fact they made three consecutive World Cup finals, this was quite difficult to find a connection. Their manager, Tite, was at Juventude in the 97/98 season so isn’t on the CM database, and I think it would be a cop out even by my standards to select Cafu as the most capped Brazilian. No, if we dig a little deeper it’s to my huge relief that Claudio Taffarel is the goalkeeping coach. Brazil aren’t exactly known for their goalkeepers and it came as quite a surprise to me to learn Taffarel got 101 caps over the course of his career. But then I am ignorant.
First off, that 15 caps is wrong. Sack the researcher. Actually the date of birth is wrong too, but the year is right. So…I don’t know, I guess I’m not the only ignorant one. His stats are pretty decent though, I’m surely he’ll do a great job with Ederson this summer.
The Swiss have a similar disregard for my retro passion. Manager Vladimir Petkovic was at the very end of his playing days in 1997 and doesn’t make the database, whilst none of the current squad seem to have many links to the past. Once again though the goalkeeping coach comes to my rescue, good old Patrick Foletti. Who you ask? You mean you don’t remember his 11 games for Grasshoppers in the 90s? Shame on you. He also played twice for Derby County in 2002. Totally passed me by but here he is in 97/98 for your amusement.
This was by far my least favourite group. It was around Group E that I considered just knocking the whole thing on the head but having committed more hours of research to this than I care to admit I set to work on Serbia. Now, on that note, who remembers Goran Djorovic?
With 7 for heading and 6 for tackling, I’m pretty sure I would never even try and sign this man. He can pick a pass and also shoot, so he’s actually a sweeping dream, but it isn’t 1990 and you aren’t Mark Wright, so unlucky. Anyway, Goran is on the coaching staff, hence his inclusion here. With manager Mladen Krstajić not making the cut despite being on Partizan’s books, it’s left to Djorovic to be our link to the 90s.
Look, some nations are very poorly represented on CM97/98. It would have been ideal if Paulo Wanchope could have held on to the job for a few more years, but he has been fighting fans and I can’t see him being reappointed somehow, so this was always going to be difficult. With no sign of Mauricio Solis, I was soon out of Costa Ricans. Looking at the squad list was equally useless, but then…
I’m sorry. Costa Rica have a player called Rodney Wallace, that’s the best I can do. Cheer on Rodney for old Rodney.
After the horror show of Group E, F was bound to be plain sailing. It really wasn’t. Germany aren’t so bad, but it’s very much downhill from here. Joachim Low himself is in the game at Stuttgart manager
We can do better though. His assistant, Thomas Schneider, is actually a player for him in 97/98. In this save he has a broken leg but don’t let that put you off.
Those stats are terrifically average. When injury proneness is your highest rating you know you’re in trouble.
Andreas Kopke, saver of Gareth Southgate penalties, is the current goalkeeper coach, you’ll find him at Marseille in 97/98, whilst they rather bizarrely have the need for a business manager – a role filled by Oliver Bierhoff. Who else would it be?
You’ll notice I gave Germany a big build there as these next three get progressively worse. Sweden Manager Janne Andersson was managing in his homeland and didn’t make the database and assistant Peter Wettergren is equally unknown. Jonas Thern, of Rangers fame, is a scout, but that hardly seems relevant here. I then notice a chap on the player list with the last name Larsson. Could it be?
Yes, Jordan Larsson is the son of Henrik and has 2 caps. He’s not as good as his Dad. He also seem to take a lot of the blame from the fans when it went wrong at Helsingborg when Henrik was in charge, but ignore that. He’s an outsider to make the squad, so just in case he doesn’t, here’s Jonas Thern.
I researched Mexico for hours. Surely there’d be something, anything to relate things back to 1998? Well if there is, I can’t find it. Colombian manager Juan Carlos Osorio is nowhere to be found, whilst his staff are similarly missing from history. The best I can give you is Mexico’s all time most capped player, Claudio Suarez. Again, they haven’t researched his caps so you’ll just have to believe me.
There is absolutely no link here to their current squad, it’s just a current statistic. I did recently buy their 1998 kit though and it’s lush, so…yeah.
South Korea are not well represented on CM97/98. Manager Shin Tae-Yong is sadly missing as are the other 50.8m South Koreans estimated to be in the world. Their assistant manager is a Spaniard called Toni Grande though, and he was Real Madrid’s assistant manager in 97/98. Which means he worked with this squad:
They won the 97/98 Champions League too, which perhaps isn’t a surprise and if I were him I’d be taking all the credit for it. It must come up in job interviews. Anyway, Toni Grande – 97/98 legend.
After that nightmare, things could only improve. We’re in England’s group and of course Gareth Southgate is well known for his 90s antics. Missing penalties, the pizza hut advert and generally being a solid centre half.
Out of that entire Euro 96 squad I think Southgate will have been towards the bottom of the list of players you would predict to manage England in a future World Cup, but here we are. I actually quite like him, though if he doesn’t get us out of the group he may never manage again.
Another easy one. Belgium are managed by Roberto Martinez who played for Wigan in 97/98.
As if to say “I’m fully on board with this” he has Thierry Henry as an assistant, so let’s have the pair of them on here for good measure
If only all countries were like Belgium…
It’s always nice to see a nation qualify who we don’t usually see but it doesn’t really help me. They are managed by Hernán Darío Gómez Jaramillo who actually managed Colombia during the 1998 World Cup. So there is that. Colombia of course were in England’s group in 1998 and lost 2-0 to Beckham and Anderton, so get your money on somebody scoring a direct free kick if you believe in history repeating. Anyway, here are two of my favourite Colombians in 97/98
Yes, before you ask, I am taking “they played under the current manager in the past” as a link. Besides, there is only one Panama player in the whole CM9798 database. Here he is:
I have so little for Tunisia. Head Coach Nabil Maâloul was managing in Tunisia in 1997 so that won’t help us and his coaching staff were even later to the party. Maaloul played for Tunisia in the 1988 Olympics, where Tunisia were in a group with West Germany. Although Maaloul scored twice, Tunisia didn’t get through the group. They faced West Germany, who had a certain Jurgen Klinsmann leading the line:
Can you really claim that as a link? Probably not. But this guy scored the winner for the Soviet Union in the Gold Medal match, so if nothing else you’ve learnt some pointless trivia.
The final group and it’s another mixed bag. Poland was a tricky one, with manager Michał Żewłakow playing for Polonia Warsaw in 1997 but not making the database. Even finding the coaching staff was tricky but with no successful links found, I was fearing the worst. Trawling through Wikipedia bios is a dangerous game but, eventually, it came to light that Jakub Blaszczykowski has an uncle who had a big influence on his career. He also happens to be in CM9798 at Tirol Innsbruck (with the Russia manager, funnily enough) and so here he is. If that’s not a reason to cheer on a nation, I don’t know what is.
“Crap but pacey” said the reviews.
Sometimes you just need an easy result. Senegal manager Aliou Cisse is on CM97/98, though he is clubless.
Cisse actually captained Senegal to the 2002 World Cup, a breakout tournament for so many of their players, earning several of the squad moves. Cisse transferred to Birmingham and later Portsmouth after he fell out with Steve Bruce. Whether Cisse can get Senegal to reach the heights of 2002 remains to be seen but at least sign him on a free if you’re playing 97/98 anytime soon.
I feel like we’ve already done Colombia but it just turns out there’s a few Colombian managers knocking around and I took a few liberties and starting claiming Valderrama and Higuita were involved. Anyway, Jose Pekerman is Colombia Manager and in 1997 he was managing Argentina Under 20s, so he’s out. Once again though he’s got an assistant who knew where to be in the 90s, good old Patricio Camps.
I’d never actually heard of this man but those stats are rather good, with pace and shooting he’s pretty much all I look for in a striker. Heading is very much optional in my teams.
We’ll finish on a low. I really tried. Japan manager Akira Nishino has stopped playing by 1997 and was managing Japan’s Under-23s, which isn’t enough to earn you a spot in the CM9798 database. After hunting high and low through the squad, I threw the towel in. All I can offer you is two players who have caps for Japan who are on CM9798 and still playing now. I just hope they get a very surprise recall.
Nakamura is 39 now and playing for Jubilo Iwata, whilst Miura is a ridiculous 51 and still turning out for Yokohama every now and then. I don’t think either will feature this summer.
There we go then. A reason to follow any of the 32 teams involved in the World Cup this summer. Not necessarily good reasons but where has logic ever got anybody? Thanks for reading and putting up with the madness!