Scolari expected to be named new Brazil coach

Luiz Felipe Scolari is expected to be named as the new Brazil
coach, returning to the national team 10 years after leading the
country to the 2002 World Cup title.

The official announcement is expected to be made by Brazilian
federation president Jose Maria Marin on Thursday. The president
said Wednesday that a new coach has been selected, and sources
close to Scolari and the Brazilian federation confirmed to local
media that the outspoken Scolari was the one chosen to lead Brazil
at the 2014 World Cup.

He would replace Mano Menezes, who was fired last week after
Marin said he didn’t like the coach’s methods.

The likely announcement of Scolari will keep Brazil from being
without a representative in Saturday’s Confederations Cup draw,
when the team will find out who it will play in the tournament’s
opener next June. Brazil will host the warm-up tournament and the
World Cup with a team led by young promising stars such as Neymar,
Oscar and Lucas.

Scolari has been without a job since leaving Brazilian club
Palmeiras a few months ago. The former Chelsea and Portugal coach
helped Palmeiras win the Brazilian Cup this year, but the team
struggled under his command and was eventually relegated to the
second division. Scolari had already been replaced, but admitted
his part of responsibility for the demotion.

Scolari had recently turned down jobs with Russia’s national
team and Brazilian clubs Gremio and Cruzeiro.

Marin said that a new national team coordinator will also be
announced on Thursday, replacing director Andres Sanchez, who
publicly said he was against Menezes’ dismissal. Carlos Alberto
Parreira, the coach when Brazil won the 1994 World Cup, was touted
for that job.

Parreira also coached Brazil in the 2006 World Cup, when the
team was eliminated by France in the quarterfinals.

Mario Zagallo was Brazil’s national team coordinator in 1994 and
2006, and Zico was in the position in 1998. The post was eliminated
for the 2010 World Cup, when Dunga was the coach.

Sanchez, who had been the person directly in charge of the
national team, had said discussions about the new coach would only
begin after Christmas and the announcement wasn’t expected until
early January.

Marin said earlier this week that he likely wouldn’t hire a
foreign coach, ending speculation that former Barcelona coach Pep
Guardiola could be a candidate. Marin said he respected Guardiola
but there were many good coaches in Brazil.

Others reportedly in the running for the job were Corinthians
coach Tite, former Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo and
Fluminense coach Abel Braga, who led his team to the Brazilian
league title this year. Santos coach Muricy Ramalho, who turned
down the Brazil job because of club commitments in 2010, reportedly
was also in the running.

There was also talk about Zico, the Brazil great who previously
coached Japan. He is in Brazil and announced Wednesday that he was
resigning as coach of Iraq’s national team of because of a contract
breach.

Marin fired Menezes saying he wanted the national team to head
in a different direction. The coach led Brazil to 21 victories, six
losses and six draws since replacing Dunga in 2010, but he was
marked by disappointing results against traditional rivals such as
Germany, France, Argentina and the Netherlands.

He also failed to win the Copa America and failed to win Olympic
gold, which is the only football trophy the five-time world
champions haven’t won.

Sanchez, the former president of Brazilian club Corinthians, had
criticized the president’s decision to fire Menezes because the
coach had already established his methods. Sanchez delivered his
resignation letter to Marin on Tuesday.

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