Scolari returns as Brazil coach
SAO PAULO (AP)
Luiz Felipe Scolari is back in charge of Brazil's national football team, 10 years after leading the team to the 2002 World Cup title.
The Brazilian football federation said Thursday that Scolari has been hired to lead the team through the 2014 World Cup at home. He replaces Mano Menezes, who was fired last week because the federation didn't like his methods.
The former Chelsea and Portugal coach, who has been without a job since leaving Brazilian club Palmeiras, led Brazil to its fifth World Cup title at the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.
Fans loudly called for the popular Scolari's return after Menezes left, chanting his name in recent matches the national team played in Brazil.
The announcement keeps Brazil from being without a coach at the Confederations Cup draw on Saturday, when the hosts will find out against which team it will play the competition's opener in June.
The federation also announced on Thursday that Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to the 1994 World Cup title in the United States, will be the national team's coordinator. Parreira also coached Brazil in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The winning duo will be ahead of a team with few experienced players but filled with young promising stars such as Neymar, Oscar and Lucas.
''I wish a lot of luck to my friend Parreira and to Felipao,'' former Brazil striker Romario said. ''We know that now we will have the best players picked for the team.''
Scolari had recently turned down jobs with Russia's national team and Brazilian clubs Gremio and Cruzeiro. He had been with Palmeiras since 2010 and succeeded in leading the team to the Brazilian Cup title earlier this year. But he couldn't keep Palmeiras from struggling in the Brazilian league and admitted he was partly responsible for its recent relegation.
The 64-year-old Scolari had said his goal was to end his career by coaching a national team during the World Cup in Brazil, and never dismissed a return to the national team.
''He was extremely victorious ahead of Brazil. He is a great name to lead the national team at the World Cup here,'' former Brazil great Zico said.
The outspoken Scolari took over Brazil the first time just a year before the 2002 World Cup, where he coached a team led by Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho to the title after seven straight wins.
He coached Brazil in 26 matches in total, winning 19, drawing one and losing six.
In 2003, Scolari accepted a job with the Portuguese national team, which reached the final of the 2004 European Championship and the semifinals of the World Cup two years later. He left after elimination in the quarterfinals of Euro 2008, taking over at Chelsea.
Scolari didn't thrive at the English club, though, complaining of difficulties dealing with some of the players, especially striker Didier Drogba. He was fired less than a year later.
Scolari, who has a deal with Brazil's sports ministry to work as a volunteer to help promote the 2014 World Cup, also coached Uzbek club Bunyodkor before returning to Palmeiras in July 2010.
He will be taking over a national team revamped by Menezes after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when Brazil lost in the quarterfinals under coach Dunga. Menezes led Brazil to a 21-6-6 record but there were disappointing results against traditional rivals Germany, France, Argentina and the Netherlands.
He also failed to guide the team to the Copa America title or bring home the Olympic gold, which is the only football trophy the five-time world champions haven't won.
Federation director Andres Sanchez, who was against Menezes' dismissal, resigned from his post and was likely to become an opposing force to president Jose Maria Marin, the 80-year-old official who replaced Ricardo Teixeira earlier this year. Teixeira left citing health reasons amid a series of accusations of wrongdoing in his administration.
The Brazilian federation, hosting this year's final inspection visit by FIFA at the World Cup cities, began the week having to deal with news that vice president Marco Polo del Nero, a member of FIFA's executive committee, was questioned by police in a nationwide investigation targeting financial crimes and the sale of confidential information. Del Nero has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.