Reason no.1: Scolari ~psychology + history
After the 2010 FIFA World Cup disaster (where Brazil lost 2-1 to Holland in a quarter final in which Felipe Melo received a red card and Sneijder, a 5’7” player, scored a header!) and the failure of the 2012 London Olympic games (where Mexico beat the favourites Brazil to gold), Brazil were a very weak side.
But, on the 29 November 2012, Brazil appointed 2002 World Cup manager Felipe Scolari as manager and 1994 World Cup manager Carlos Alberto Parreira as technical director. A new surge of optimism suddenly spread across the footballing nation. Globo Esporte, the main national sports newspaper, released an article reminiscing his fantastic 2002 World Cup victory. People were incredibly excited for him to build the modern day ‘Family Scolari’ (term for Scolari’s star-studded team in 2002, keeping a certain group of players close together in a family spirit, where he acted as the father). He was a manager known for installing a fighting mentality into his players. Before the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he had given copies of Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu’s book ‘Art of War’ to motivate his team…
Those players came out of South Korea as heroes.
2014 evidently proved differently. When that semi final started, after a fanatical national anthem, you saw Brazil on the front foot at times before Muller’s goal. However, when the first goal came in, 4 more followed quickly. That leaves me with the impression that all concentration went out the window. That’s when I ultimately believe, and I admit I’m guessing, that so much attention from the manager went into pride and passion, instead of setting up tactics and organisation against such a strong side like Germany. That’s when I blame Scolari.
Going back to November 2012, German newspaper Die Welt, ironically, mentioned Brazil legend Carlos Alberto (with headlines on Die Welt as ‘Brazil Go Back into the Future’) to be criticising the appointment of Scolari: “I don’t know that this is Felipao moment. He won in 2002- but that was 2002! This year he bombed out at Palmeiras.”
And he ‘bombed out’ at Chelsea and Uzbekistan club Bunyodkor too.
His managerial career after 2002 was far from sensational. After his success, he moved onto Portugal in 2003, in preparation for Portugal to host the 2004 UEFA Euro. There, he took them to the final against big underdogs Greece… and lost. However, he stayed on and, you could say, successfully took Portugal to the semis in 2006. After having been knocked out in the quarters of the 2008 UEFA Euros, he left Portugal to go to 2008 UEFA Champions League finalists Chelsea. Yet, he didn’t even last a season. He effectively dropped key players, like striker Drogba, during his tenure, and he never quite settled in with the players and the fans. After only 13 points in a 9 game run from 14 december 2008 to 7 February 2009, Scolari was sacked. His career took a dip as he moved on to Uzbekistan, but he didn’t last a year there either. He then went back to Palmeiras in 2010, won a Copa do Brasil, but after a very poor run of results (which led to Palmeiras getting relegated that same season) he left by mutual consent.
His next job? Brazil. Getting ready for the World Cup. Had Scolari’s years since 2002 not been taken under consideration when CBF were choosing the next manager? Football changes quickly. Scolari never moved forward with his career from 2002. The Brazil team did not have a goalscorer like Ronaldo, a team of stars. Should CBF have gone for a proven manager instread? A foreign manager? You decide.
Effectively, Scolari was not the right man to take Brazil to World Cup glory, and he is largely at fault for the loss, as he said so himself. The CBF should have picked another manager. Though that is easy to say now, considering his very disappointing and weak career after leaving Brazil in 2002, he should not have even been considered as a candidate for the job. But above all, his management style was evidently at fault in the 7-1.
But Brazil did win a trophy in 2013…