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The Best FIFA Women’s Coach 2021: A closer look at the five nominees

Emma Hayes is one of five names in the frame for the award
Emma Hayes is one of five names in the frame for the award

Five managers are in contention to be crowned The Best FIFA Women’s Coach, which takes into account achievements between 8th October 2020 to 7th August 2021.

Women's national team managers, national captains, specialist journalists, and fans make up the votes with the victor named on 17th January 2022.

Below we take a look at the five names in the frame, featuring two English managers...

Former Winners

2020: Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands)

2019: Jill Ellis (United States)

2018: France Reynald Pedros (Lyon)

2017: Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands)

2016: Silvia Neid (Germany)

Lluís Cortés

  • Nation: Spain
  • Club(s): Barcelona

What did he achieve?

A lot. Between 8th October 2020 - the start time for the award - through to his departure in the summer, Lluis Cortes accumulated 47 wins from 51 matches, losing just twice in 90 minutes. 224 goals were smashed in at an average of 4.39 a game. You won’t be surprised to learn that these sensational statistics resulted in Barcelona winning the league - 33 wins in 34 games - they smashed Emma Hayes’ Chelsea 4-0 in the Champions League final too, then the Spanish Cup sealed an historic treble. 

Cortes implemented Barcelona’s trademark philosophy, oversaw an avalanche of goals, and transformed the club into the dominant force in the women’s game.

Any disappointments?

The only real disappointment was Cortés surprise departure back in June! Barcelona scored nine goals in a fitting final game.

Peter Gerhardsson 

  • Nation: Sweden
  • Club(s): Swedish national team

What did he achieve?

Between the chosen period of October 2020 and August 2021, Sweden manager Peter Gerhardsson conjured up 11 wins, two draws and lost just the once. Sweden scored 44 goals, beat the US and Australia (twice), and reached the Olympic final. However, painfully that is where they suffered their only defeat, on penalties, to Canada. Still, the job Gerhardsson has done at the helm has been fantastic. 

He’s created a team that are incredibly difficult to beat but capable of superb attacking performances e.g. the back-to-back 3-0 and 4-2 wins over the US and Australia during the Olympics.

Any disappointments?

Missing out on Olympic gold on penalties is pretty heartbreaking! A lack of ruthlessness cost Sweden with only one of their 30 shots finding the back of the net in the final.

Emma Hayes

  • Nation: England
  • Club(s): Chelsea

What did she achieve?

Emma Hayes is one of only two English managers to feature across the men’s and women’s coaching categories. Hayes won the WSL for a record fourth-time, lifted the League Cup, and fired her troops through to the Champions League final. Her domestically-dominant Chelsea side are simply great to watch, while it’s surely only a matter of time before she triumphs in Europe.

Any disappointments?

The 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final. Chelsea were a goal down after 33 seconds and 4-0 down after 36 minutes.

Beverly Priestman

  • Nation: England
  • Club(s): Canadian national team

What did she achieve?

Joining Hayes in the mix is fellow countrywoman Beverly Priestman who became an Olympic gold winer after all of 13 matches as a full-time manager. Priestman led Canada to the country's first ever women’s football gold medal after beating the aforementioned Gerhardsson in the showpiece spectacle.

It’s been a remarkable rise for the young manager, who until as recently as 2020 was in the England coaching set-up under Phil Neville. Appointed Canada manager in October, the 35-year-old lost two of her opening three matches before taking her side on a 10 game unbeaten run to Olympics success; beating the US and Sweden, while she previously oversaw a win over her homeland. Priestman's organisational skills and a strong defensive backbone were key to Canada's triumph.

Any disappointments?

A superb underdog story has propelled Priestman into the spotlight. Difficult to think of any setbacks, her side finished 3rd in the four-team SheBelievesCup at the very start of her tenure. You can hardly call that a disappointment though.

Sarina Wiegman

  • Nation: Netherlands 
  • Club(s): Dutch national team | English national team

What did she achieve?

Sarina Wiegman has two FIFA awards and another two runners-up finishes in the last four years. She’s made the shortlist once again this time, although on this occasion she may struggle to replicate former glories in this category given the successes of her competitors. Still, she led Netherlands to the Olympics quarter-finals where they lost on penalties. Over the course of the last year her Oranje side scored six or more goals on seven occasions and even fired 10 past Zambia.

She’s since become the first non-British manager of the Lionesses - since September 2021 - and won all four games to date.

Any disappointments?

The obvious one is losing out to the US at the Olympics, which was Wiegman’s final game in charge of the Netherlands.

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