Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Luiz Felipe Scolari to lead Brazil, again

The Perfect Choice?
Big Phil is back to lead the Selecao
Luiz Felipe Scolari will lead Brazil into the 2014 World Cup after being appointed new Selecao coach on Thursday.

The 64 year-old led Brazil to the title in 2002, and in the end Big Phil’s experience made him a better bet, according to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), than former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola and current Santos boss Muricy Ramalho to lead the Selecao at their home World Cup.

Guardiola had been under consideration after expressing an interest in the role while Ramalho has for sometime been highly-regarded in Brazil. But, as CBF president José Maria Marin revealed, Scolari’s past international achievements proved a deciding factor.

Scolari will be assisted by another World Cup winner, Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to glory in 1994 in the USA. Parriera, who also oversaw Brazil’s ill-fated 2006 campaign, will be the team’s general manager.

On paper it is a dream coaching team.

Marin said: “After a lot of analysis, thinking about what would be the best for Brazilian football, for the Brazilian fans, we decided to give the responsibility of the national team for the Confederations Cup (next June) and the World Cup to two great champions, respected throughout the world – Felipe and Parreira.”

Scolari, nonetheless, has a massive job on his hands. Brazil have failed to make it past the quarterfinals at two the World Cups since winning the competition. They were hugely disappointing as favourites in 2006, crashed out in 2010 and were well below-par at the last Copa America (2011) where they were also knocked out in the quarters.

The Selecao has also slipped to its lowest ever Fifa world ranking of 13th in the meantime.

The Under-23’s second place at the London Olympics was the final straw for a success hungry nation resulting in the sacking of Mano Menezes two weeks ago.
Pointing the way forwards... the 2014 World Cup
Now nothing less than another world title will be accepted in front of their home fans.

“I’m not feeling under pressure, but very happy,” insisted Scolari. “When the FA president called me last Tuesday and confirmed that I was the chosen one, I thanked him a thousand times.”

“I was under pressure the first time, when we were in danger of not going to the World Cup. The players are those who always have pressure over them, I don’t.”

Scolari’s first spell in charge began in 2001 when Brazil were struggling in the South American World Cup qualifiers and looked in serious danger of missing out on the finals. Big Phil successfully guided the team to Japan and South Korea, and eventually to a 2-0 win over Germany in the final for Brazil’s record fifth title.

Scolari subsequently had notable success in charge of Portugal, leading them to the final of the European Championships in 2004, the World Cup semis in 2006 and the quarters of the 2008 Euros.

Two tumultuous spells in club management, first with English side Chelsea and then with Palmeiras whom he left in September, have somewhat blotted his copybook. Still, Scolari had been the overwhelming favourite to take over the national team given the esteem in which he is held by the Brazilian public.

Scolari’s first match in charge will be a friendly against England at Wembley on February 6 when the weight of expectation will no doubt commence in earnest. And despite his claims that there’s no pressure, the objective for Scolari is clear – World Cup glory in two years’ time.

He admitted as much.
Brazil's last World Cup win
Cafu holds the Holy Grail aloft
“It needs to be clear to all Brazilians: We have the obligation to win the title,” Scolari said.

“We will be playing in front of our fans. We are not the favourites right now, but we will work hard to make sure that we are during the tournament. A country with five world titles will not play hoping to finish second, third or fourth.”

No comments:

Post a Comment