Srečko Katanec

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Srečko Katanec
Srecko Katanec 2015.jpg
Katanec in 2015
Personal information
Date of birth (1963-07-16) 16 July 1963 (age 57)
Place of birth Ljubljana, SR Slovenia,
SFR Yugoslavia
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Position(s) Defensive midfielder,
Club information
Current team
Iraq (Manager)
Youth career
1970–1981 Ljubljana
Senior career*
1981–1985 Olimpija 81 (10)
1985–1986 Dinamo Zagreb 21 (3)
1986–1988 Partizan 56 (10)
1988–1989 VfB Stuttgart 26 (1)
1989–1994 Sampdoria 87 (12)
National team
Yugoslavia U21
1983–1990 Yugoslavia 31 (5)
1994 Slovenia 5 (1)
Teams managed
1997–1998 Gorica
1998–2002 Slovenia
2002–2003 Olympiacos
2006–2009 Macedonia
2009–2011 United Arab Emirates
2013–2017 Slovenia
2018– Iraq
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Srečko Katanec (pronounced  [ˈsretʃkɔ kaˈtanɛts] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); born 16 July 1963) is a Slovenian professional football manager and former player who is the manager of the Iraq national team. At international level, he was capped for both the Yugoslavia and Slovenia national teams. Besides Slovenia, he has played in Croatia, Serbia, Germany, and Italy. [1]


A former midfielder, who was also capable of playing as a defender, Katanec is regarded as one of the greatest Slovenian footballers of all time, having represented Yugoslavia at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, UEFA Euro 1984 and the 1990 FIFA World Cup. After Slovenian independence, Katanec made five appearances for the newly formed Slovenia national team before retiring from professional football. [2]

During his club career, Katanec won a Yugoslav League championship with the Serbian club FK Partizan and was a runner-up in the 1988–89 UEFA Cup with VfB Stuttgart. In a five-year spell at Sampdoria, he won the Serie A championship, the Coppa Italia and the European Cup Winners' Cup, as well as finishing runner-up to Barcelona in the 1992 European Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. [3]

Under his management, Slovenia qualified for its first-ever UEFA European Championship and the FIFA World Cup in 2000 and 2002, respectively. On 31 December 2012, he returned to manage Slovenia for a second time.

Playing career

Katanec began playing football at age seven with NK Ljubljana. In 1981, he joined Olimpija; in 1985, he joined Dinamo Zagreb; while the next year, he signed with Partizan and was a Yugoslav champion in 1987.

In 1988, Katanec joined VfB Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. The club reached the 1989 UEFA Cup Final, but lost to Diego Maradona's Napoli. Katanec played just one season for Stuttgart. In 1989, he signed for Italian Serie A side Sampdoria, where he won the European Cup Winners' Cup in his first season. In 1991, Sampdoria won the Scudetto as Serie A champions, while the next year, the club reached the 1992 European Cup Final, losing to Barcelona. In 1994, he also won the Coppa Italia with Sampdoria under manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Katanec was a member of the Yugoslavia national team squad at 1984 European Championship in France, but he has fonder memories of 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where Yugoslavia team won a bronze medal. He was playing successfully in the qualifying round for 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy so he became the third Slovenian to play at a World Cup, where he appeared in three of Yugoslavia's five matches. These would be his last three caps for Yugoslavia. Altogether, he appeared in 31 matches and scored 5 goals.

Katanec played five more matches (and scored a goal) for the independent Slovenia national team, but appeared in only one official match. That was a qualifying round for the 1996 European Championship in England, on 7 September 1994 in Maribor against Italy. Soon after, his contract with Sampdoria expired and he finished his football playing career.

Career statistics


Club performanceLeagueCupLeague CupContinentalTotal
YugoslaviaLeagueCupLeague CupContinentalTotal
1980–81 Olimpija Ljubljana First League 20
1981–82 170
1982–83 294
1983–84 336
1984–85 Dinamo Zagreb First League 00
1985–86 213
1986–87 Partizan First League 284
1987–88 286
GermanyLeague DFB-Pokal Other Europe Total
1988–89 Stuttgart Bundesliga 261
ItalyLeague Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1989–90 Sampdoria Serie A 275
1990–91 262
1991–92 264
1992–93 40
1993–94 41
Career total27136

Managerial career

Between 1996 and 1997, Katanec was an assistant manager of Drago Kostanjšek at the Slovenia under-21 team. [5] In December 1997, he became a head coach of Gorica, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract. [5] In July 1998, he was announced as the Slovenian national team manager. [6]

With Slovenia, he qualified for the 2000 UEFA European Championship after eliminating Ukraine in the qualifying play-offs, which was the country's first-ever appearance at the major tournament. [7] At the tournament, Slovenia earned draws against FR Yugoslavia and Norway, and lost to Spain. [8] Slovenia also managed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where they lost all three matches against Spain, South Africa and Paraguay. [9] After the first game, Katanec had a huge argument with the team's star player Zlatko Zahovič, who was sent home. [10] He resigned immediately after the World Cup. [11] On 2 November 2002, he became the new manager of Olympiacos. [12] Under Katanec's command, Olympiacos played worse than expected, and on 7 February 2003 the club terminated his contract with immediate effect due to poor performances and a bad atmosphere in the team. [13]

In 2004, Katanec was a candidate to become the national team manager of Croatia; however, Zlatko Kranjčar was chosen instead of him. [14]

On 17 February 2006, Katanec was appointed as Macedonia's head coach for the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers. [15] Following a mixed set of results in the qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, including a 1–0 win against Scotland and a 4–0 loss to the Netherlands, Katanec resigned from the position on 6 April 2009. [16] On 23 June 2009, he was presented as a new head coach of the United Arab Emirates national team. [17] He was sacked on 6 September 2011 after two successive defeats in the third round of qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. [18]

On 31 December 2012, he accepted the offer from the Football Association of Slovenia to become the manager of Slovenia for the second time, and was officially appointed on 4 January 2013. [19] [20] He resigned in October 2017 after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. [21]

On 4 September 2018, Katanec was appointed as head coach of the Iraq on a three-year contract. [22] His first major competition was the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, where he managed to achieve what he had failed with Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates, by reaching the knockout stages in a major tournament for the first time, as his Iraq reached the round of 16 before losing to the eventual champions Qatar 1–0. [23]

Personal life

Katanec was born in Ljubljana to Croat parents from Međimurje. [24] He has two sons, Svit Oliver and Ian Oskar. [25]

Managerial statistics

As of match played 15 June 2021
Managerial record by team and tenure
Gorica 18 December 1997 [26] 2 July 1998 [26] 181215066.7 [26]
Slovenia 2 July 1998 [27] 18 June 2002 [28] 47181613038.3 [26] [29]
Olympiacos 2 November 2002 [30] 7 February 2003 [31] 14851057.1 [26]
Macedonia 17 February 2006 [26] 6 April 2009 [26] 279711033.3 [26] [29]
United Arab Emirates 23 June 2009 [26] 6 September 2011 [26] 281189039.3 [32] [33] [34]
Slovenia4 January 2013 [20] 24 December 2017 [26] 4216719038.1 [29]
Iraq 4 September 2018 [35] Present3820135052.6 [36] [37] [38] [39]



VfB Stuttgart

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