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Ex-Greece boss Santos appointed Portugal coach

Fernando Santos, who steered Greece to UEFA EURO 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup last 16, has been appointed Paulo Bento's successor as Portugal boss.

Fernando Santos returns to coaching in Portugal
Fernando Santos returns to coaching in Portugal ©Getty Images

Former Greece coach Fernando Santos has been appointed Paulo Bento's replacement as Portugal coach.

The 59-year-old has signed undisclosed terms and will be officially unveiled at a press conference on Wednesday. It signals a swift return to management for Santos who ended a four-year stint as Greece coach in June after guiding the team to the FIFA World Cup round of 16. They were beaten on penalties by Costa Rica.

Portugal's own ambitions in Brazil expired after the group stage, and defeat at home by Albania in their opening UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier earlier this month led to the termination of Bento's contract.

"I want to thank [the Portuguese Football Federation] for the invitation, and for the confidence that is being put in me," Santos said at his unveiling on Wednesday. "It's an honour and I'm extremely proud to take the helm of the national team and serve my country. It's something I always dreamed, a moment of great happiness for me. There is one goal and one goal only: to be in France in 2016. We'll be there, to make the Portuguese people proud."

Santos will have three weeks to prepare for their next Group I fixture, away to Denmark on 14 October. A former left-back who played for SL Benfica, CS Marítimo and Estoril Praia, the man known as the Engineer (he has a degree in electrical and telecommunications engineering) has coached Portugal's biggest three club sides: FC Porto, Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal.

He won the Liga and two cups with Porto and lifted the Greek Cup in 2002 during one of two spells with AEK Athens FC. He also had stints at Panathinaikos FC and PAOK FC before taking the helm of Greece and negotiating qualifying for UEFA EURO 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.