|The Perfect Choice?|
Big Phil is back to lead the Selecao
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
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
. But, as CBF president José
Maria Marin revealed, Scolari’s past international achievements proved a
deciding factor. Brazil
Scolari will be assisted by another World Cup winner, Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to glory in 1994 in the
. Parriera, who also oversaw USA ’s
ill-fated 2006 campaign, will be the team’s general manager. Brazil
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.
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 Brazil (2011) where they were also knocked out in the quarters. America
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|
“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
and South Korea, and
eventually to a 2-0 win over Germany
in the final for ’s
record fifth title. Brazil
Scolari subsequently had notable success in charge of
, leading them to the final
of the European Championships in 2004, the World Cup semis in 2006 and the
quarters of the 2008 Euros. Portugal
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
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. England
He admitted as much.
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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.”