Luiz Felipe Scolari has quit his role as Brazil coach following the team’s failure to win the World Cup, according to national broadcaster Globo TV. Scolari, who won the 2002 tournament in Japan, could only lead the host nation to fourth spot at the 2014 event.
The 65-year-old came in for severe criticism when Germany, which defeated Argentina 1-0 in Sunday’s final, inflicted a 7-1 defeat on Brazil. The scoreline went down as Brazil’s joint-heaviest defeat ever and its first competitive loss at home in 39 years. If that defeat was not enough, the Netherlands then beat Brazil to win the third place play-off.
Scolari’s contract was due to expire after the tournament anyway, but Globo TV said his resignation will be confirmed later today (Monday) by Brazil’s national football federation, CBF. During Brazil’s last match of the tournament in which the Dutch won comprehensively, Scolari was booed each time he appeared on the big screen in the Brasilia stadium. He had previously said the 7-1 annihilation by Germany was “the worst day of my life” and he asked the nation for its forgiveness.
It marks a huge change in fortunes for Scolari who managed Brazil for the first time in 2001. He guided the national team to World Cup glory just a year later, ironically beating Germany 2-0 in the final in Yokohama. He also managed the Portugal national team along with Premier League club Chelsea, Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan and Palmeiras back in Brazil. Scolari then took on the Brazil job for the second time in 2012.
However, Scolari’s return did yield some good things. Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup in 2013 and beat Spain 3-0 in the final. In the 2014 World Cup, Brazil topped its group with two wins and a draw from three games. Scolari’s side then edged past Chile on penalties in the round of 16.
Brazil met South American rival Colombia in the quarter-finals and won the game 2-1. However, it was a pyrrhic victory in that star player and top score Neymar broke a vertebrae and claimed he could have paralyzed by the offending challenge. Captain Thiago Silva was also lost to suspension.
Although Scolari does have the title of World Cup winner, his history in club management leaves a lot to be desired. At his age, it is difficult imagining him taking on another high profile job. Defeat to Germany in that manner will have knocked his confidence and will have put him out of the minds of a number of football federations and club sides in the hunt for a new leader.
Although Brazil fans are upset at their country’s failure to win the tournament it was hosting, it was the way it which the team collapsed against Germany that irked them most. A replica of Neymar’s jersey was set fire to in the street in protest, even though he did not feature in the game.
Brazil now looks to a new era without Scolari after he quit his post, and whoever comes in will have to make some serious decisions as to which members of the squad he decides to keep. Fred and David Luiz were heavily-criticized during the tournament – despite the latter scoring a spectacular free-kick – and so they could be just two of the players looking over their shoulder.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd