Jorge Luis Pinto

Haiti 1-0 Honduras: Nazon, Placide write early end to Los Catrachos’ Gold Cup run

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Jorge Luis Pinto’s Gold Cup with Honduras ended up nothing like his World Cup run with Costa Rica.

The architect of last summer’s thrilling run through Brazil could be at the end of the line after less than a year at Honduras after Haiti bounced an uninspired Los Catrachos in group play on Monday.

Duckens Nazon was again the goal hero for Haiti, scoring in he 17th minute on a play started by the match’s defensive hero: goalkeeper Johny Placide.

Haiti now is in prime position to advance. Their 4 points will put them in Group A’s second place unless Panama beats the U.S. tonight, and should be enough to qualify for the knockout rounds as a third-place team.

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source: Getty Images
Nazon

Haiti went direct to score the opener, as a long free kick from Placide was flicked forward to Nazon by Kervens Belfort, who hit a viciously-spinnning shot bounding off the turf and past a fooled Donis Escobar.

Honduras had a good chance pushed out for a corner in the 21st minute, but Placide collected Mario Martinez’s ensuing corner. Los Catrachos didn’t do much else besides that, wasteful in possession and even lazy at times.

Haiti came into the tournament ranked No. 79 in the world, one ahead of Honduras. That does not fittingly explain the relationship between the sides, as Honduras had been two consecutive World Cup in addition to its Gold Cup successes.

The favored Hondurans found some life in the second half, but Placide was up to the task with several classy saves.

Benfica boss says he’s FIFA Coach of the Year material; Five more names

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Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has been around the block; The reigning Portuguese coach of the year lifted his club to a league title last season, and he thinks that qualifies him for FIFA Coach of the Year more than some of nominees on FIFA’s shortlist.

To recap, FIFA has 10 names on its shortlist for Coach of the Year. Some, like the Netherlands’ Louis van Gaal and USMNT’s Jurgen Klinsmann, did not win a single title last year.

[ MORE: MLS awards Los Angeles a 2nd club ]

Jesus did. In fact he won three, nearly four. And he’s not happy. Come to think of it, we can think of a few nominees ourselves, but first Jesus’ thoughts.

From the BBC:

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus believes he should have been on Fifa’s Coach of the Year shortlist for masterminding the Portuguese club’s domestic treble.

Jesus, 60, also steered Benfica to the Europa League final in 2013-14 before losing 4-2 to Sevilla on penalties.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who is on the 10-strong list, did not win anything last season.

“Some weren’t in the European finals, some weren’t even domestic champions,” said Jesus.

He makes a fairly compelling case. We can think of several compelling names who didn’t make FIFA’s cut.

So, here are 10 names not on FIFA’s shortlist that probably deserve a high-five or two:

Jorge Luis Pinto, Costa Rica — Are you kidding us? Pinto’s Costa Rican squad backed up its 2013 Copa Centroamericano title by defeating Uruguay, Italy and Greece at the World Cup and drawing England before bowing out to the Netherlands on penalties. How he’s not on the list is a head-scratcher.

Jose Pekerman, Colombia — Probably should’ve been the manager who knocked Brazil out of the World Cup, but that’s a story for another time. Without Radamel Falcao, Pekerman led Los Cafeteros to a World Cup quarterfinal on wins over Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan and Uruguay before bowing out to the hosts.

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool — The Reds boss led Liverpool back into Europe via an exciting brand of football. No, he didn’t have the added responsibility of European football nor did he win a domestic Cup, but there’s no doubt that he’s the best club boss left off this list from UEFA’s top-rated league.

Rafa Benitez, Napoli —  The ex-Liverpool boss led to third place in Italy and the Round of 16 in the Europa League after nearly navigating a Group of Death in the UEFA Champions League, finishing third to Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund only on goal differential.

Luis Fernando Tena, Cruz Azul — The CONCACAF Champions League winning manager didn’t fare as well in Liga MX play, but surely it’s worth a nod to Mexico’s continental-winning club.

Jorge Luis Pinto will not return as Costa Rica head coach

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Cinderella has lost her fairy godmother. After guiding Costa Rica to the World Cup quarterfinals, Colombian manager Jorge Luis Pinto will not return to the Ticos, a surprising turn considering the popularity he gained during his team’s run in Brazil. Unable to reach a new contract agreement with the Costa Rican federation, the 61-year-old’s now in search of a new starlet to guide to the ball.

“I want to heartily thank Mr. Pinto,” Eduardo Li, president of the Costa Rican federation, said at a press conference in San Jose. “The entire Costa Rican public, coaches and managers are pleased with what was achieved in Brazil.”

“Unfortunately, we we’re able to come to an agreement on a few aspects [of a new contract].”

According to Pinto, speaking at the same press conference, disagreements within the federation’s technical staff contributed to the decision. Li, however, remains open to the idea of having the Colombian boss back.

“The doors are still open. We won’t rule out the opportunity of having Mr. Pinto back in the future.”

Pinto joined Costa Rica for the second time in 2011, guiding the Ticos to second in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. In Brazil, drawn with England, Italy, and Uruguay, Costa Rica faced long odds of advancing out  of its group, but after being eliminated on penalty kicks by the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, Pinto’s team left the competition undefeated.

“The success was everyone’s,” Pinto explained, “not just mine, everyone’s.”

With that success, Pinto should have no problem finding a job in Colombia, where the former national team boss has served as head coach with Millionarios, Santa Fe, Deportivo Cali, Atlético Junior, and Atlético Nacional, among others.

The bigger question, given how much influence Pinto had on their success: Where does Costa Rica turn now?

At halftime: Navas keeping Costa Rica alive vs Dutch — FOLLOW LIVE

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The Netherlands had plenty of possession against a Costa Rica team playing a defensive 5-2-3 of sorts in the first half of Saturday’s semifinal at the Arena Fonte Nova.

The finishing touch was not applied, and the teams walked to the break knotted at zero.

Goals:

None yet

Other key moments:

21′ — Dirk Kuyt starts a swing that ends with the ball on Robin van Persie’s foot 15 yards from goal and 1v1 with Keylor Navas. RVP’s shot is parried away by the Costa Rican keeper, and the backstop collects the long rebound attempt as well.

29′ — A fancy combination with a run-and-feed from Robin van Persie to Memphis Depay into the 18 ends with Memphis’ turn to try and best Navas 1v1… and he can’t! The Levante keeper continues to see his star grow.

34′ — Netherlands is playing with fire, as Bolanos gets to take two free kicks from dangerous distance. Here we see Costa Rica’s best chance at goal, but it’s cleared away by the Dutch.

39′ — Sneijder!! So close on a free kick from 25 yards out, but Navas gets full extension to push the ball away from the upper 90.

Lineups

Netherlands: Cillessen, Vlaar, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind, Van Persie (c), Sneijder, Robben, Kuyt, Wijnaldum, Depay

Costa Rica: Navas, Acosta, Gonzalez, Umana, Borges, Bolanos, Campbell, Ruiz (c), Diaz, Gamboa, Tejeda

Question for the second half

What does Jorge Luis Pinto have in his back of tricks? If the match is played like the first half, the Netherlands should find a goal while Costa Rica will have a lot of trouble finding a finish. What does the manager have in store?

Costa Rica coach suggests referee keep a close eye on Arjen Robben

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Arjen Robben admitting he dove in an attempt to earn a penalty against Mexico was always going to have consequences. The winger may have legitimately earned Netherlands’ last-minute spot-kick, but it was always going to be a contentious call, one that’s made even more so with his confession shortly after the match.

Naturally, Jorge Luis Pinto is a bit nervous. His Costa Rica side are the underdogs going into their quarterfinal match with Netherlands, and he wants to make sure that the playing field is as even as possible. That’s why he’s calling attention to Robben, trying to make sure the officials are keeping an eye on him:

I think he is one of the three or four best players in the world. He is a great player but on the other hand we have to say there have been refereeing mistakes. We’re really worried about Robben’s diving. And he admitted it. I hope the referee watches him very closely tomorrow.

Pinto was also kind enough to provide a “logical solution” to the match officials: book Robben early if he dives. And then, perhaps, he will learn his lesson. “Maybe he would have to leave the field because he gets two yellow cards for diving,” said Pinto. “Why not? That could happen. I want to trust the referees. Let’s see what happens.”

Robben has certainly been the spark that’s brought Holland to life. His ability to race up the field and get behind defenders makes him difficult to stop – even for a side as devoted to defending as Pinto’s. Even for a side that has the fantastic Keylor Navas between the sticks.

Can you really blame Pinto for planting the subtle seeds of a sending-off?