Aguirre to Serve as Manager with United Arab Emirates club Al-Wahda

Javier Aguirre is headed to the Middle East…

The 56-year-old Mexican former footballer and current manager, who was let go by Japan in February because of his alleged involvement in a match-fixing investigation, has returned to management with a new role with United Arab Emirates club Al-Wahda.

Javier Aguirre

Aguirre, nicknamed El Vasco, replaces Saudi Arabian Sami Al Jaber, whose contract was not renewed after the club’s fourth-placed finish in the Arabian Gulf League last month.

“Aguirre has signed a one-year extendable contract,” Al-Wahda board member Jamal Mohammed Al Hosani was quoted as saying in the press.

“The new coach is a great asset for the club as he has vast experience and a successful record as a coach.”

Aguirre was at the helm when defending champions Japan made a surprise quarterfinal exit to the UAE in January’s Asian Cup and was removed as boss the following month over fears a match-fixing case could affect their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

In December, Aguirre and 40 others were named in an alleged case of match-fixing involving a game between Real Zaragoza and Levante in Spain in the 2010-11 season.

Zaragoza, then coached by Aguirre, won 2-1 at Levante on the final day to avoid relegation.

Prosecutors allege that the Levante players were paid a total of 965,000 euros (£690,813) to deliberately lose the game. Aguirre, who has also coached Mexico at two World Cups, denies any wrongdoing.

Navas & His Costa Rican Teammates’ World Cup Run Comes to a Close Against the Netherlands

World Cup 2014

Keylor Navas and his Costa Rican teammates came thisclose to pulling off one of the biggest ever FIFA World Cup shocks.

The 27-year-old Costa Rican footballer and his fellow Los Ticos teammates gave the Netherlands an almighty scare, keeping the Dutch scoreless, denying stars like Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder any glory at every turn.

Keylor Navas

The Netherlands may have dominated all but the first 20 of the 120 minutes of the intense game,  hitting the woodwork, reining in shot after shot and creatingchance after chance, but still couldn’t find a way past the Los Ticos goalkeeper, who has been the hero of his country and looks to be a major contender to win the Golden Gloves award for best keeper of the tournament.

But Costa Rica and Navas’ luck would eventually run out in the penalty shootout.

With seconds left in extra time and penalties looming, Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal made World Cup history by taking out his number one, Jasper Cillessen, and replacing him with Newcastle custodian Tim Krul.

Krul didn’t let his boss down, saving two of Costa Ricas’ penalty shots to ensure that his team advanced.

Navas had kept clean sheets against England and Italy, conceded only from the penalty spot against Uruguay, and had then produced a wonderful save in the shootout against Greece to ensure the outsiders’ place in the last eight. It will be scant consolation to him or his colleagues, but history will record that he kept a clean sheet again this time.

The Levante goalkeeper was at it again throughout this match where the men in orange held sway but simply could not find a way past the Tico keeper.

Navas made numerous saves, diving to his right, diving bravely at the feet of onrushing attackers, saving with his own feet: it seemed that however the Dutch tried to breach his goal they would not succeed.

The Netherlands’ win over Costa Rica set up a World Cup semifinal meeting with Argentina next Wednesday in Sao Paulo.