Vlatko Andonovsky was always aware that his office was bigger than him. “It was selfish,” the USA coach said after his team’s Round of 16 defeat to Sweden, “to think about yourself now, when we have 20-year-olds who have to get through it now.” Andonovsky designed the first stage to deal with the trauma himself, and only then decided his fate. On Thursday he submitted his resignation to the American Federation.
It is the end of a four-year period during which Andonovsky failed to live up to sporting expectations. Despite its 16-consecutive winning streak after its debut, it fell short of the expected gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics – and now also of bringing the USA a third world title after 2015 and 2019. Instead, after a close round of 16 elimination in a penalty shootout Memorably, the disappointing scoring of just four goals in the group stage and only one win, against tiny Vietnam, stood in the starting lineup.
It was therefore expected that Andonovsky would hardly be allowed to retain his post after the tournament – although there were arguments in his favour. You don’t hear a bad word about the 46-year-old Macedonian, who just obtained US citizenship with his wife and who has always been of particular importance: his relationship with the players. ‘Coach Vlatko’, as he was called, was an ever-vigilant moderator at press conferences, not allowing criticism of his team even after they almost lost to Portugal in the preliminary round, his selfless preemptive remark after the match against Sweden. Throughout his tenure: Andonofsky always knew he didn’t have the same prestige as his famous predecessor, Gil Ellis, and he didn’t even ask for it.
The back is open – an international solution may be sought
However, his failure is also the failure of the American way: Andonovsky came as a successful coach from the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), and was supposed to impose league principles on the national team and thus a football that relied less on tactical brilliance and more on the on-the-go principle of self-belief and physical fitness. and individual quality. However, this is no longer enough at the World Cup, as evidenced by the finalists from Spain and England: if you want to be successful, you need a more refined tactical concept than was the case in 2015 and 2019.
So the longer-term answer to the succession question is likely to lie on another continent. The US reportedly wants to think big and attract a young and attractive team that will reclaim their spot as title favorites next year, at the Olympics in Paris – so there isn’t much time left. The name of Australia coach Tony Gustafsson was mentioned recently, as well as that of the best coach in the world, Dutch Sarina Wiegman, who could win her second consecutive major title with England on Sunday.
Assistant coach Twina Kilgore will take over from USA on short notice and will be in charge of the team’s two friendlies against South Africa in September. Andonovski is said to be loud the athlete Already having many offers from national teams and clubs, his qualities are still appreciated – even if they are not enough to successfully fill the coaching position in the United States.
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