Mark Sampson finished third in the final voting for FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football, but the man who led England to the brink of reaching the World Cup final has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension. The new deal tied Sampson to England through the 2019 World Cup in France. His contract was set to expire following the 2017 European Championships in the Netherlands. The Lionesses are cruising in qualifying for the Euros.
Sampson’s tenure as England coach has seen him mend fences with several players who had distanced themselves from the team near the end of Hope Powell’s 15-year run. After a slow start to the World Cup, England advanced to the knockout phase and defeated Norway and Canada to advance to the semifinals. That match was knotted 1-1 until Laura Bassett’s attempted clearance went for an own goal with just seconds remaining, sending Japan to the final. England rebounded by toppling Germany in the third place match.
On Monday, Sampson lost out for coach of the year honors to the two coaches who went farther than him at the World Cup. Jill Ellis of the United States emerged the winner, followed by Japan’s Norio Sasaki.
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