01 | 11 | 17
The Managers - France & Panama
FRANCE: DIDIER DESCHAMPS
The 49-year-old captained his country to their solitary World Cup success on home soil in 1998 and will be looking to repeat the feat as manager 20 years later at Russia 2018.
A product of Nantes' highly-regarded youth system, Deschamps, a defensive midfielder, went on to join Marseille and won Ligue 1 in 1990 and 1992 before captaining them to UEFA Champions League success in 1993.
After signing for Juventus a year later, he won his second Champions League title in 1996 and also bagged three Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia and a European/South American Cup during his successful spell in Turin.
Deschamps won the FA Cup during his solitary season at Chelsea before ending his career with 12 months in Valencia, watching from the bench as the Spanish giants lost the 2001 Champions League final to Bayern Munich. He won 103 caps in total for France and also skippered his country to success at Euro 2000.
Deschamps’ coaching career began at Monaco, winning the French League Cup in 2003 before reaching the UEFA Champions League final a year later, going down to Jose Mourinho's Porto.
He resigned in September 2005 and joined his old club Juventus, then in Serie B, the following June. Deschamps stepped down after securing promotion back to Serie A in May 2007 and was appointed boss of another former club, Marseille, two years later.
He ended the club’s 18-year wait for the Ligue 1 championship in his first term and also added a League Cup, retaining the latter in the next two campaigns.
Deschamps succeeded Laurent Blanc as France boss after Euro 2012, guiding the national team to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they lost to eventual winners Germany in the quarter-finals.
Deschamps then led France to the Euro 2016 final on home soil, only to suffer an agonising extra-time defeat to Portugal. He has safely steered his country to qualification for next summer’s World Cup, winning Group A by four points.
PANAMA: HERNAN DARIO GOMEZ
Appointed in early 2014, Colombian Hernan Dario Gomez is one of the most seasoned coaches on the CONCACAF scene.
The 61-year-old, born in Medellin, is nicknamed El Bolillo (The Truncheon) and it should come as no surprise that he has steered Panama to their first-ever World Cup finals judging by his previous qualification record.
Gomez followed up guiding his native country to France 1998 by leading Ecuador to Korea/Japan 2002 – the first time they had graced the tournament.
He has now repeated that feat with Panama, after a dramatic 2-1 victory over Costa Rica in their final qualifying game ensured they finished third in the CONCACAF group to book a place at Russia 2018.
Following a playing career that ended in the mid-80s, the former Atletico Nacional and Independiente Medellin midfielder turned to coaching. He assisted Francisco Maturana when Colombia qualified for the World Cup finals in 1990 and 1994.
Gomez took the Colombian managerial reins in 1995, guiding the South Americans to a third straight World Cup appearance at France 1998.
A year later, he was appointed Ecuador’s head coach and, in 2004, guided Guatemala to a third-place finish at the UNCAF Nations Cup (now known as the Copa Centroamericana) and a place at that year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
He returned to coach Colombia from May 2010-August 2011, before moving on to Independiente Medellin – his last post before taking charge of Panama.