Jorge amiss with the Swiss

Norman Fox discovers that even a multilingual coach is not easily understood
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The Independent Online
Artur Jorge, the coach of Switzerland, speaks French fluently, German and Italian well and Spanish presentably. He has picked up a smattering of this and that language from Scandinavia and, of course, has his native Portuguese as well as English. But in the language of football, will he have the last word against Terry Venables?

Jorge is the most formidably qualified coach in the championship - at least academically. He has university doctorates in philosophy and German philology, but does that help in football? "I can talk to people in their own language," he said. "It means I'm more adaptable than someone who speaks only one. I think I'm more understanding."

Swiss fans say he misunderstands that the main gift of his predecessor, the Englishman Roy Hodgson, was to unite the squad when history warned of perpetual infighting.

The Swiss job was inherited by Jorge, 50, in curious circumstances. The team was on a roll. Hodgson had got them to the European finals, as he had the World Cup finals. He was popular with the public and press, but within weeks of Hodgson leaving for Internazionale, his successor, Jorge, had antagonised the fans. Last week, his decision to omit the popular German-based Alain Sutter and Adrian Knup from the Euro 96 squad made the acrimony worse.

Jorge first made himself unpopular by changing Hodgson's successful 4- 4-2 pattern to the more fashionable 3-5-2. On his appointment he said all his teams had played 4-4-2 and he had no intention of changing a settled formation, but after two bad results (a draw with Luxembourg and a defeat by Austria) the fans believe he wants out - probably to Porto, the club he took to the 1987 European Cup.

Hodgson says that if the Swiss had really wanted him to combine managing Inter with coaching them he would have thought seriously about it. The Swiss federation say that was never a possibility. They wanted a full- time coach but also wanted Hodgson to remain in charge until the end of Euro 96. Jorge said: "None of that is my concern. They picked me because they thought I was the best for the important task of getting Switzerland to the next World Cup. I've seen a lot of progress since I took over."

Jorge's credentials are CV perfect. Unlike Hodgson, whose playing career was restricted to non-League clubs, Jorge, a centre-forward, played 25 times for Portugal and won four championship medals with Benfica. He coached five clubs in Portugal, including Porto who won three championships. Paris St Germain won the French League and Cup under him, but he has also twice been sacked for employing inflexibly defensive tactics. Portugal's national side were unbeaten when Jorge was in charge, but he only stayed for eight games.

In Switzerland, Hodgson will continue to haunt him. When the Swiss beat Hungary 3-0 and qualified for Euro 96, the newspaper Tages Anzeiger proclaimed: "Roy's last masterpiece". Hodgson was then voted Swiss Personality of the Year, but the competition was not oversubscribed.

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