BRASILIA: Brazil’s 2002 World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari (pictured) is to return to lead his country’s bid to win a sixth world title on home soil, a source close to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said yesterday.
The man known as Big Phil, who also led Portugal to a European championship and World Cup semi-final before a short, unsuccessful spell with Chelsea, would be officially named today to replace the sacked Mano Menezes, the source said.
Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to their fourth world title in 1994, would be named technical director, according to another source close to the federation.
In his first stint as coach, Scolari took over with the team in disarray, turned around the situation and led them to an unexpected triumph against all odds in barely more than a year at the helm, resisting public demand for him to pick an aging Romario.
However, many feel that the 64-year-old, who declined an offer to continue after the 2002 tournament, has lost his magic touch.
In his most recent job, he quit Palmeiras in September after a dismal run left them near the bottom of the Brazilian championship. They did not recover and were later relegated.
Scolari will have to cope with huge pressure and enormous expectations from his 190 million compatriots.
Their failure to win on home soil in 1950, when Uruguay beat them in the decisive match before a 200,000 crowd at the Maracana, still rankles and the members of that team found themselves shunned for years afterwards.
“Pressure will be great at the World Cup and that’s understandable, and we need someone who can cope with that,” CBF president Jose Maria Marin told reporters at an event in Sao Paulo.
“We need everyone to get behind the new coach,” he said.