Bora Milutinović

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Bora Milutinović
Milutinović in 2006
Personal information
Full nameVelibor Milutinović
Date of birth (1944-09-07) 7 September 1944 (age 76)
Place of birth Bajina Bašta, German-occupied Serbia
Height1.77 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1956–1958 Partizan
Senior career*
1958–1960 OFK Beograd 15 (2)
1960–1966 Partizan 40 (3)
1965–1966OFK Beograd (loan) 12 (3)
1966–1967 Winterthur 20 (1)
1967–1969 Monaco 42 (3)
1969–1971 Nice 37 (0)
1971–1972 Rouen 11 (0)
1972–1976 UNAM 93 (12)
Teams managed
1977–1983 UNAM
1983–1986 Mexico
1987 San Lorenzo
1987 Udinese
1988 Veracruz
1988–1989 Tecos UAG
1990 Costa Rica
1991–1995 United States
1995–1997 Mexico
1997–1998 Nigeria
1998–1999 MetroStars
2000–2002 China
2003–2004 Honduras
2004–2005 Al Sadd
2006–2007 Jamaica
2009 Iraq
Representing Flag of the United States.svg United States (as manager)
Winner CONCACAF Gold Cup 1991
Runner-up CONCACAF Gold Cup 1993
Men's Soccer
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Velibor "Bora" Milutinović (Serbian Cyrillic : Велибор Бора Милутиновић; born 7 September 1944) is a Serbian retired professional football manager and former player.


He has managed at five editions of the FIFA World Cup, tied for the record alongside Brazilian manager Carlos Alberto Parreira, but did so in five consecutive World Cups with different teams: Mexico (1986), Costa Rica (1990), the United States (1994), Nigeria (1998), and China (2002). He is also the first manager to take four teams beyond the first round – all but China – earning the nickname of Miracle Worker, [1] first given to him by Alan Rothenberg, then president of the United States Soccer Federation. [2] In total Milutinović has managed eight national football teams.

Managing – World Cup national teams

Mexico (1983–86)

Milutinović led Mexico to the quarter-finals at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, its highest finish. Mexico fell in the quarter-finals to West Germany on penalty kicks.

Costa Rica (1990)

Milutinović took over Costa Rica just before the 1990 FIFA World Cup and got Costa Rica into the second round. In 1990, Milutinović was hired as head coach of Costa Rica just 90 days before the World Cup. He cut the captain and other starters. Costa Rica managed to beat Scotland and Sweden and lost to Brazil, 1–0, before losing 4–1 to Czechoslovakia in the second round. [3]

United States (1991–95)

Hank Steinbrecher, general secretary of the U.S. Soccer Federation, conducted the job interviews for the U.S. national team head coach position. American coaches had not proved their worth on the international stage, as the United States had lost all three games in the 1990 World Cup finals under Bob Gansler. When the USSF's search began in 1991, the emphasis was not so much on experience, but on finding a coach who could squeeze the last drop of potential out of a lightly regarded team, and Milutinović's name came up again and again. [4] He had coached first Mexico, then Costa Rica to surprising World Cup success.

Milutinović left no doubts about who ran the team, cutting two U.S. players, Peter Vermes and Desmond Armstrong, board members of the national federation, from his World Cup team. Milutinović further cut Bruce Murray, the all-time leading U.S. goal scorer. When Alexi Lalas first showed up at training camp, Milutinović told him to get a haircut or get off the team. [3]

Milutinović coached the United States national team at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, held in the U.S. In the 1994 World Cup, the U.S. team notched its first win in the World Cup since 1950, and progressed to the knockout round of the tournament for the first time since the 1930s, this was hailed as a success for a country with little soccer experience.

The USSF fired Milutinović on 14 April 1995, saying it wanted someone who could be both coach and administrator. Milutinović reportedly wanted no part of the administrative duties. [5]

Nigeria (1997–98)

Milutinović coached the Nigerian team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. [6] Nigeria won its group, notching a notable 3–2 upset win over Spain, and reached the knockout rounds. This was the fourth team that Milutinović had taken to the knockout rounds of the World Cup, a coaching record. [7]

China (2000–02)

Under Milutinović's coaching, for the first time ever, the Chinese national football team qualified to be among the 32 finalists for the World Cup in 2002. He was hailed as a hero in China, ending a 44-year drought, and was popularly known as Milu. [8] However, unlike his previous forays, Milutinović could not take the Chinese team past the first round due to their inexperience at the world stage.

Managing – other national teams

Honduras (2003–04)

In the summer of 2003, Milutinović was in serious negotiations to finally take over the national team at his native Serbia. Despite heavy, month-long persuasion from Serbian football officials, Milutinović turned down the offer and soon signed on to the Honduras national team. He led the team to the first round of CONCACAF qualifiers before resigning on 30 June 2004. He cited "the prevailing bad atmosphere, created by comments made by the country's managers, officials and press" as the reason for his leaving during World Cup qualifying.

Jamaica (2006–07)

On 16 November 2006, Milutinović was announced as head coach of Jamaica. On 9 November 2007, following a string of six consecutive friendly defeats, he was fired by the Jamaican FA.

Iraq (2009)

Milutinović led the Iraq national football team in group play in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup for two draws and one loss, failing to reach the knockout stage.

Managing – club teams

Milutinović's managerial career at club level has seen more mixed success. His longest managerial spell for a single club was his tenure with UNAM Pumas of Mexico from 1977 to 1983. Several of his Pumas players ended up playing for Mexico at the 1986 World Cup.

Since then, he has managed briefly for several club teams. He managed Udinese Calcio of the Italian Serie B for nine matches in 1987. He then managed the MetroStars of Major League Soccer to the worst record in league history in 1999. He also had a brief stint in the Qatar Stars League with Al-Sadd in the 2004–05 season.

Managerial statistics

Year(s)CountryTeam (*)PWDL%GFGA
1977–1983Mexico UNAM 21896596344406299
1983,1986,1995,1997Mexico Mexico national football team 10652322050
1987Argentina San Lorenzo de Almagro 84405082
1987Italy Udinese Calcio 9
1988Mexico Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz
1988–1989Mexico Tecos UAG
1990–1991Costa Rica Costa Rica national football team 930633.3713
1991–1995United States United States national football team 9330313531.3116110
1997–1998Nigeria Nigeria national football team 1132627.31022
1998–1999United States NY/NJ MetroStars 33532515.2
2000–2002China China national football team 4620111543.57550
2003–2004Honduras Honduras national football team 10244201214
2004–2005Qatar Al-Sadd
2006–2007Jamaica Jamaica national football team 611416.7514
2009Iraq Iraq national football team 4031012

(*) Includes national teams. P: Matches played; W: Matches won; D: Matches drawn; L: Matches lost; %: Win percentage; GF: Goals for; GA: Goals against.

Personal life

The Milutinovic brothers (left to right): Milorad, Milos and Bora. Milutinovic Brothers 2.jpg
The Milutinović brothers (left to right): Milorad, Miloš and Bora.

Milutinović comes from a footballing family; he and his two brothers Miloš and Milorad played together for Partizan.

His father was killed in World War II, his mother by tuberculosis soon after the war. He said he does not remember either of his parents. He was raised by an aunt, and raised playing football. [9]

Milutinović is married to a Mexican and currently resides in Qatar. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and French as well as his native Serbian.



Pumas UNAM


Pumas UNAM

United States


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  1. "Five in a row for the miracle worker". BBC News. 15 April 2002. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  2. Profile: Bora Milutinovic Archived 10 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. 1 2, A Soccer Coach Who Has To Win Is The U.s.'s Bora Milutinovic Good? The World Cup Will Tell, 5 June 1994,
  4. Los Angeles Times, WORLD CUP '94: 35 DAYS AND COUNTING : Bora! Bora! Bora? : Milutinovic Enjoyed World Cup Success With Mexico and Costa Rica, but the United States Might Be His Biggest Challenge, 13 May 1994,
  5., World Cup-winning Coach Is Fired, Eyed By U.S. Team, 3 June 1995,
  6. Pierson, Mark (18 December 1997). "Milutinovic confirmed as Nigeria coach for France 98". The Independent. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  7. The Augusta Chronicle, Nigeria advances in World Cup, 20 June 1998,
  8. Penner, Mike (4 June 2002). "Another Bora-Fest". Los Angeles Times . p. D10. Retrieved 6 July 2019 via Lock-green.svg
  9. Jensen, Mike (5 June 1994). "A Soccer Coach Who Has To Win Is The U.s.'s Bora Milutinovic Good? The World Cup Will Tell". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved 21 March 2011.