Russia's Cherchesov among Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2018 nominees

Russia's Cherchesov among Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2018 nominees
Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has been named among the nominees for the prestigious Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2018 award, in recognition of guiding his team on an historic World Cup run this summer.

Cherchesov took Russia to the quarter-final stage of their home World Cup, leading the team out of the group stage for the first time while competing separately from the Soviet Union.  

READ MORE :‘I hope a new football era is starting in Russia’ – Cherchesov on World Cup success

Russia had been unfancied heading into the tournament, but emerged from their group with two wins from three and pulled off a stunning penalty shootout win against Spain in the last 16, before losing to Croatia on penalties in the quarter-finals.     

That feat was recognized by FIFA as they named the 54-year-old among the nominees for the top coaching prize on Tuesday.

Also among those named was Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, who guided his nation to a first-ever World Cup final in Russia.

The man who defeated him that day, France’s Didier Deschamps, has also made the list, as have the bosses of World Cup semi-finalists Belgium and England, with Roberto Martinez and Gareth Southgate being listed respectively.

At club level, former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane – who won the award in 2017 – has been nominated after guiding the Spanish giants to an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League title in May before quitting the role unexpectedly. 

Pep Guardiola has also been picked after guiding Manchester City to the English Premier League title with a record points haul.     

Cherchesov’s nomination marks a stunning turnaround after the coach went into the World Cup as a much-maligned figure in the national press, with fears the team would suffer embarrassment at the tournament after heading into it as the lowest-ranked team and on a winless run stretching seven games.

The team surpassed all expectations in beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game and then seeing off Egypt 3-1, before beating Spain in a thrilling shootout in the last 16 after the scores had ended 1-1 following extra-time.

They went down to an agonizing defeat against Croatia in the next round, losing in a shootout after the scores had finished 2-2 over 120 minutes.

READ MORE: ‘We'll do even better at Qatar 2022!’: Russian manager Cherchesov makes promise after World Cup exit

Despite the exit Cherchesov and the team were feted as national heroes, and were credited with restoring pride to Russian football.

The winner of the Best FIFA Men's Coach award will be announced at a ceremony in London on September 24, along with the winners of the best female coach and best male and female players.

The Best Male Player list of nominees included the familiar figures of Cristiano Ronaldo – who has won the award in the past two years – and Lionel Messi, as well as French teen sensation Kylian Mbappe and fellow World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann.

Liverpool and Egypt star Mohamed Salah also made the list, as did Croatia’s World Cup Golden Ball winner Luke Modric. There was no room for Brazil and PSG star Neymar, however. 

The awards are now in their third year, having been handed out annually since 2016.