Experience counts in race for success

When it comes to success at a big tournament like EURO, it seems the advancing years are more a help than a hindrance if a coach is going to take his team all the way.

Of the four semi-finalist coaches, only Germany's Joachim Löw is still a relative youngster at 48. His three counterparts – Luis Aragonés (Spain, 69), Guus Hiddink (Russia, 61) and Fatih Terim (Turkey, 54) – are proof that wisdom and battle-hardened minds often count when the championship chips are down.
"You've all seen the film No Country for Old Men," says UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh. "When it comes to this level of football, it's no place for people without experience. Yes, you'll get exceptions – people who have come on the scene who are very talented – but, in general terms, it's usually people who are very experienced and you can see that with the colleagues here. There are people who have been around the block a few times."
Roxburgh also reflects on why three of the group winners – Croatia, Portugal and the Netherlands – went out at the quarter-final stage, having been tipped to travel further at UEFA EURO 2008™. "I think it's chance," he says. "In the group phase, it's different from playing at knockout level. At knockout level, it's about that one 90 minutes or 120 minutes and almost anything can happen in that. It's like cup-tie football, which is different from the league side of football.

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