Scolari return a risky gambit by Brazil
Published: 16.12.12 / Written by: David Gold
Ten years after he won the World Cup for Brazil, Luiz Felipe Scolari is back at the helm of the Selecao.
Brazil have gone back to the tried and tested formula, as it were. Scolari was appointed Brazil coach in 2000 after Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s departure, and promptly won the World Cup within two years with a side who had been derided before the tournament, with the three ‘Rs’ – Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo – to thrilling effect.
And so we are back to Scolari, 18 months before the next World Cup. Yet it is a strange decision for many reasons. Scolari, since that World Cup, has won an Uzbek title and the Brazilian cup. And the Brazilian cup was won earlier this year with Palmeiras, who he played a major role in getting relegated just months later, a sorry state of affairs for a great football club in the country’s history.
The man he replaced, Mano Menezes, must have been surprised at the timing. He could well have understood, you would think, being dismissed after the disastrous performance in last year’s Copa America. In spite of their impressive play in the build up to the final of this year’s Olympic Games in London, he may also have not been surprised to have been sacked following the defeat to Mexico.
Yet instead he was fired after a run of highly impressive performances, albeit in friendlies. But performances are performances, and Brazil were finally starting to look cohesive, with the talents of Neymar, Oscar, Hulk, Romelu, Thiago Silva and Leandro Damiao all working well. Even Kaka had been brought back and had looked decent.
So the timing was strange, but then this is Brazil, and politics are never far from major decisions. Jose Maria Marin, who became the President of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) earlier this year after Ricardo Teixeira was forced out, seemed to make the decision against the wishes of Andres Sanchez, forced out of his role on the technical committee of the CBF. Sanchez, the former Corinthians President, has since been dispensed of. And is it a coincidence that Menezes, a former Corinthians coach, was fired, whilst the current occupier of that post, Tite, misses out on the role in spite of leading the Sao Paulo club to their first Copa Libertadores title this year.
Now Carlos Alberto Parreira has been brought into an overseeing technical role. This is Brazil trying to do everything possible to win the World Cup in 2014, but it is also politics. Parreira and Scolari, the last two coaches to win Brazil the World Cup, working in tandem in the next 18 months. It may well win Brazil the World Cup. But it will be more by luck than design.