China News Service, Beijing, February 24 (Reporter Bian Liqun) "Do you have the confidence to lead the national football team to the 2026 World Cup?"

  "Yes, I am confident. Now there is a group of people who are as confident as me, not just players. We promise you that we will try our best and do everything we can. I also hope to be able to say to you' Yes', if we go to the World Cup then, I will invite you."

  This was a question and answer between coach Jankovic and young fans at a national football fan meeting in October last year.

  Yankovic (data map) Photo by Luo Yunfei

  As usual, Jankovic reiterated his goal of reaching the World Cup, and when faced with tough questions, he once again answered every detail.

  But just 4 months later, the answer became "NO".

On the 24th, the Chinese Football Association announced that because the national football team failed to advance to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup, the coaching contracts of the head coach and the coaching team have been automatically terminated as agreed, and Jankovic will no longer serve as the head coach of the Chinese national men’s football team.

  Photo taken by Luo Yunfei during Jankovic’s training

The least senior

  Jankovic was promoted from the Asian Games team to coach the national football team on February 25 last year. At that time, there was less than a month left before the team embarked on the journey to prepare for the US, Canada and Mexico World Cup preliminaries. It felt like "handing in homework" at the last moment. .

  Regarding this choice, some people in the industry believe that he is suitable for this mediocre national football team, but there are also voices of doubt.

  At that time, we published an article titled "National Football Team, Let's Treat a Dead Horse as a Living Horse".

This is not disrespectful to Jankovic, but with his qualifications, it is indeed difficult for people to believe that he can lead this national football team that even Lippi can't lead.

What's more, the current situation is far worse and more complicated than before.

  Before taking over the Chinese National Youth Team in 2018, Jankovic had coached teams such as Red Star Belgrade and Standard Liege. He did not have many outstanding achievements during his leadership, and most of them left after one year of coaching. Mechelen has been in the Bundesliga for more than 2 years.

In terms of qualifications, he can be regarded as the lowest among all previous national football coaches.

  Before taking over as the head coach of the national football team, Jankovic had not led the team in too many major competitions during his more than four years coaching in China, and spent most of his time leading the team in preparation for the Asian Games.

  Photo by Bian Liqun at the press conference for Jankovic

mediocre record

  The key is that if the national football team is really regarded as a "dead horse", there is no problem in hiring Jankovic.

But with the attention and pressure of public opinion from the national football team, it is absolutely impossible to do this.

Therefore, the final choice of Jankovic seems to be a bit high and low.

  During the year of coaching the national football team, Jankovic led the team in 17 games and achieved 6 wins, 4 draws and 7 losses. Two of the wins were internal warm-up matches with local clubs in the United Arab Emirates in preparation for the Asian Cup, which itself has limited gold content.

  In these games, the national football team faced teams ranked higher than themselves and lost without exception.

For example: in the warm-up match against Uzbekistan, they lost 1:2 despite being passive throughout the game; in the World Cup preliminaries at home, they lost 0:3 against the South Korean team; in the Asian Cup life-and-death battle, they lost 0:1 to the rotating Qatar team.

  Facing teams ranked lower than itself, the national football team is often passive. For example: a 1:1 draw with the Malaysian team in the warm-up match, a 0:1 loss to Syria, which did not make much effort; a 0:0 draw in the Asian Cup group stage Tajikistan and Lebanon.

  National football team in Asian Cup

  Of course, there is nothing wrong with a steady and defensive style of play. After all, the national football team has limited strength. The key lies in whether it can fully utilize its limited strength.

  The actual situation is that in these games, except for the victory against Thailand in the first game of the World Cup preliminaries, the national football team under Jankovic performed very mediocrely.

  It was precisely because of the victory over Thailand that Jankovic had the opportunity to lead the team to the Asian Cup.

Unfortunately, he eventually led the team to the worst record in team history and was dismissed sadly.

  The national football team played against Thailand in the World Cup qualifying match

pay for mistakes

  From a professional perspective, Jankovic has no problem and is also very humble and friendly.

When faced with doubts and tough questions at press conferences, he could always answer them calmly.

  But this personality and style seem to be more inclined to a diplomat or spokesperson.

Moreover, this type of answer was fresh once or twice, but every time the same words were repeated, they became less and less convincing.

  For example, before the World Cup preliminaries, Jankovic always repeated "discovered problems and solved them", "collected useful information" and so on in every press conference.

  Any reporter who has frequently reported on the national football team in the past year can predict what Jankovic will say as soon as he opens his mouth.

  So much so that when it came to the Asian Cup, even Jankovic himself joked: "You may think my press conference is boring." Facing the media like this, one can more or less imagine the scene when Jankovic leads the team.

  Photo by Bian Liqun at the press conference for Jankovic

  At the beginning of taking office, Jankovic emphasized team spirit and hard-working spirit, focusing on the players' physical reserves and strength, and the body fat rate should not exceed 10%.

Before leading the team in the first game, they conducted 20 days of "devil training".

  Given the special background of Chinese football at that time, there was no problem in doing so.

But in the long run, too rigid management may be counterproductive.

As time goes by, when the game encounters difficulties or the results do not meet expectations, this will also cause a certain amount of resentment between the players and the coach.

  It is understood that some players do not agree with Jankovic's daily training and technical and tactical arrangements.

When the coach cannot completely control the players, the team's combat effectiveness on the field will definitely be affected to a certain extent.

  Of course, it is absolutely unfair to put all the problems on Jankovic. After all, this national football team, which is young and has limited strength, has no advantage against second- and third-rate teams in Asia.

But not to mention elevation and improvement, for a coach, if he cannot fully utilize the limited strength of the team, this is obviously unqualified.

  Jankovic (data map) Image source: IC photo

  It is foreseeable that even if a new coach comes, it will be difficult to lead such a national football team to the US-Canada-Mexico World Cup.

From this point of view, it sounds like changing coaches for the sake of changing coaches.

  But in terms of results, the national football team must at least complete the task of advancing to the top 18 of the World Preliminaries.

Once they miss such a level event, the national football team will be further and further removed.

  If Jankovic continues to lead the team, regardless of the two-round match against the Singaporean team, the key battle against the Thai team alone may be even greater.

Changing a more qualified coach to lead this national football team, awaken the team's spirit, and bring something new is the only option at the moment.

  Anyway, thanks to Jankovic.

As he said at the beginning, he tried his best.