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Phuket: No coach, no jogo bonito - much doubt in Brazil

Phuket: No coach, no jogo bonito - much doubt in Brazil

FOOTBALL: Seven months to go to their own Confederations Cup, and a year and a half before they stage their first World Cup in 64 years, Brazil fans should be in a high sense of anticipation.


By Agence France-Presse

Thursday 29 November 2012, 09:36AM


Instead, many are awaiting the events with trepidation as there has been little recent sign of the 'jogo bonito' or beautiful game, a factor, coupled with Olympic final defeat by Mexico, which led to the sacking last week of Mano Menezes as coach.

Fans are now waiting to see what the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) are going to do as they plot a stragegy designed to cast off the doubts and bring home a sixth World Cup triumph.

In more than two years at the helm, Menezes cut too pragmatic and cautious a figure for a country of such sparkling footballing pedigree and the loss to the Mexicans when a first ever Olympic gold had come within touching distance dug his grave for him.

Now Brazil are set to move backwards to go forwards with the latest reports saying that Luiz Felipe Scolari, the man who won the World Cup for Brazil in 2002 before taking the reins of Portugal, will be named for a second spell in charge on Thursday.

Menezes' record read played 40, of which just 21 matches ended in victory -- but the damning statistic was no titles won after following up a 2011 Copa America quarter-final elimination with the Olympics flop.

Menezes also was there as Brazil's world ranking slipped to an unprecedented low of 14 -- they have since moved up a notch to 13th -- as the team failed to move on from a poor 2010 World Cup in South Africa under predecessor Dunga.

But "the past is the past - now we must only think of the future," says CBF chairman Jose Maria Marin.

Menezes used a total of 112 players in his attempts to craft a powerful force which could get the best out of attacking young gun Neymar. He also kept faith in his final games with a fit again Kaka.

"Mano was finally getting towards an ideal line-up with the arrival (back in the side) of Kaka - he is a mature player who helps the youngsters a lot, most particularly Neymar, Lucas and Oscar," explained Michel Castellar, columnist with sports daily Lance.

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But Castellar adds that "the 'jogo bonito' is a long way" from making a return - enough to frustrate many fans - while adding that a new man will risk having to undo some of the work Menezes did manage to do.

"The 'jogo bonito' will depend on the new man. What does Marin want? A team which is capable of lifting the World Cup, however it chooses to play. What counted is to win it," said Castellar.

To that extent Scolari appears ideal as he is seen as "a man who works to get results - just as in 2002 when he took over the team late in the day and won," added sports analyst Pau Ramirez.

Both Ramirez and Castellar said that with the World Cup looming ever closer whoever takes over will not look to make wholesale changes to the Menezes model.

"Brazil have slipped back a little," conceded Ramirez when it comes to measuring themselves against the likes of Spain or Germany.

"All teams are growing" and looking to avoid defeat while the Brazilians, who are pre-qualified for 2014, are playing friendlies not against top sides but weaker sides whom they can enjoy slamming several goals past.

That has been to the detriment of working on their creativity, suggests Ramirez.

Brazil will still go into both the Confederations Cup and the World Cup as one of the favourites yet more because of their history and status of hosts than their current ability.

Even so, such concerns were voiced in the run-up to 2002, when Scolari came in and surprised many by steering the team to glory.

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