FIFA World Cup: 'Der General' Ottmar Hitzfeld marches into history

Sao Paulo: Argentina on Tuesday ended Switzerland’s World Cup run and brought to a close the career of Ottmar Hitzfeld, one of Europe’s greatest managers.

Hitzfeld, 65, was unable to overcome Lionel Messi’s team in the World Cup last 16, a challenge complicated by news of the death of his 81-year-old brother.

Ottmar Hitzfeld

The German had said he would retire after the World Cup. And unlike fellow coaches Cesare Prandelli, Alberto Zaccheroni, Sabri Lamouchi, Stephen Keshi and Luis Fernando Suarez, who all stepped down after defeats, he leaves with his reputation intact. “It’s a World Cup and we were nearly at a penalty shoot-out. That of course creates a lot of tension.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it but I think we can walk tall and leave with our heads held high,” Hitzfeld said after the 1-0 defeat. “Der General”, a trained mathematician and once a formidable centre forward, steps away after almost 30 years as a coach and more than 40 years in football.

One of only four coaches to win the Champions League with different clubs, Hitzfeld also has seven German league titles, two Swiss titles, three German cups and three Swiss cups from a remarkable coaching career.

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