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Football | Brazil

Luiz Felipe Scolari © Action Images

Scolari confirmed as new Brazil coach



Luiz Felipe Scolari shrugged off the pressure of leading Brazil at home in the soccer World Cup and said they were "obliged" to win the title as he took over for a second stint as their coach on Thursday.

Scolari, who led Brazil to their fifth and last world title in 2002, was officially presented as coach of the 2014 World Cup hosts, while Carlos Alberto Parreira, in charge when they won their fourth World Cup in 1994, was named technical director.

"We have the obligation to win the title; we are not favourites at the moment but we intend to become favourites during the competition," said the man known as Felipao (Big Phil). "Third or fourth place is no good for a country that has won five World Cups."

Scolari, who has inherited a young side who are seen as lagging behind teams such as Spain, Argentina and Germany, will have to cope with huge expectations from his 190 million compatriots.

Scolari replaced Mano Menezes who was surprisingly sacked last Friday, just as his team appeared to be taking shape.

The unveiling comes two days before the draw for the next year's Confederations Cup, also to be hosted in Brazil, in Sao Paulo. Scolari's first game in charge is scheduled to be a friendly away to England in February.

Brazil's vast and fickle army of supporters always expect them to win the World Cup and the pressure will be even greater as the country hosts the event.

Their failure to win on home soil in 1950 still rankles and the members of that team were never wholly forgiven for losing the decisive match to Uruguay.

Scolari said it was water off a duck's back. "If you don't like pressure, it's better to go and work in the Bank of Brazil, or outside on the corner or sit in an office and do nothing," he said.

"It would not be right if there was no pressure and the players thought the target was just to play at the World Cup.

SIXTH TITLE

"This would be one of our most important titles - the sixth title, at home at our second opportunity."

Scolari said he felt under much greater pressure when he took over for the first time in 2001 when Brazil were in danger of missing out on the following year's World Cup.

"It would have been the first time that Brazil would have missed a World Cup, that was when I felt under pressure," he said.

Scolari, 64, and Parreira, 69, both said they felt rejuvenated by the challenge.

"I feel like a young boy, starting all over again," said Parreira, who also coached Brazil at the 2006 World Cup when they reached the quarterfinals.

"The Brazil team does you good, all that adrenalin. It's a marvellous challenge, to come back to the team for a World Cup here in Brazil, you can't describe it."

Both pointed to their past experience in Brazil and abroad.

Scolari has led Portugal at three major tournaments and coached in England, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, while Parreira has coached the national sides of Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia at the World Cup.

Scolari was proud of his record with Portugal who had a reputation for underachieving before he took over.

"We revolutionised the relationship with the supporters," said Scolari. "I maybe didn't win anything but the work we did was worth more than 10 or 20 titles."

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola had been suggested as a possible replacement for Menezes but Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Jose Maria Marin said there was ample domestic talent.

"We have won all of our titles with Brazilian coaches who have taken their knowledge beyond these frontiers," he said. "Our country has a great number of competent coaches who deserve to hold this position."

LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI FACTBOX

Born: Nov. 9, 1948 in Passo Fundo, Rio Grand do Sul, Brazil

PLAYING CAREER
* Plays for several Brazilian clubs, gaining a reputation as a tough central defender. Ended playing career with CSA in 1982 and took over as coach.

EARLY COACHING

* Coaches several unfashionable clubs including Brasil de Pelotas, Juventude and Criciuma. Also works at more illustrious Gremio and Goias, and enjoys stints in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Wins his first national trophy in 1991, the Copa Brasil with Criciuma.
* Makes name in Brazil with Gremio, winning Copa Brasil in 1994, the South American Libertadores Cup in 1995 and the Brazilian championship in 1996. Gremio are criticised for their physical style and gamesmanship.
* Coaches Palmeiras from 1997-2000 winning the Copa Brasil in 1998 and the Libertadores the following year.

CONTROVERSY

* By now Scolari is regarded as Brazil's outstanding coach alongside Vanderlei Luxemburgo. However, he is criticised for the rough-arm tactics employed by his teams and his explosive temperament.
* In one interview, he criticises his players for not committing enough fouls.

WORLD CUP WIN

* In June 2001, Scolari becomes Brazil's fourth coach in a year. It begins badly with a humiliating Copa America elimination at the hands of Honduras. But, despite a 2-1 loss to Argentina in a qualifier, they scrape into the 2002 World Cup finals and win the trophy.
* He quits after the tournament and becomes Portugal's coach three months later.
* Steers Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 in Lisbon but the hosts surprisingly lose to Greece. Portugal then finish fourth at the 2006 World Cup finals.
* Scolari's famous temper boils over after a Euro 2008 qualifying game against Serbia and he aims a punch at Ivica Dragutinovic after being pushed by the player.
* Qualifies Portugal for Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.

DOMESTIC COACHING

* Despite Portugal still being involved Euro 2008, Scolari is named as Premier League Chelsea's manager on June 11.
* Criticised for his team selection, Scolari's Chelsea suffer an early League Cup exit and trail eventual Premier League champions Manchester United by seven points. He is sacked in February 2009.
* Scolari succeeds fellow Brazilian Zico as manager of Bunyodkor, and is reunited with forward Rivaldo who was part of Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning team.
* In June 2010, Scolari returns to Brazil to coach Palmeiras. Two years later, he wins the Copa Brasil but with the team performing poorly in the league, he quits shortly afterwards.
* In November 2012, Scolari is re-appointed coach of Brazil to lead them at the 2014 World Cup.

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