“Goodbye, Mano. Come back, Scolari” has been the most favorite chants of the Brazilian fans in , practically all, matches of the side for quite sometime now, with a few rare exceptions. So, it made us curious to find out of what actually is the scenario in Brazilian football. Are the buzz surrounding Menezes justified? Or is it “when we win, the lads played well, when we lose, the coach made us fail case”?
To get a clearer picture, we need to move into the past and reflect on the situation under which Menezes was appointed as the head coach of the Brazilian team. After their disappointing show in the 2010 World Cup and the exit of Dunga, Mano Menezes was relied on with the job, that attracted immense media and fan pressure. Menezes, who until now had only managed clubs, made a giant leap to the hot seat. Though the big moment for Menezes came way back in 2005 when he was given charge of the the then 2nd division side Gremio. Menezes not only promoted them to the 1st division the next season, but also made them the Serie B champions. He won many more accolades with Gremio before leaving them, to manage Corinthians. With Corinthians he was again given the same role of promoting the team from 2nd division to the 1st division and believe it or not, he again won the Serie B championship with Corinthians. This made Menezes a sensation and ultimately the job of coaching the national side came knocking at his doors.
People all over Brazil were hugely excited at the news of Menezes being appointed the coach. One of the main change that Menezes brought in the Brazil team was the introduction of young players like Luiz, Andre, Tardelli. He only retained four players in his squad who were part of the World Cup and then made his squad even stronger by selecting players like Pato, Neymar and Vieira, whom Dunga had excluded, for which he went on to be heavily criticized. Menezes started well by winning all of his first four matches in charge. His acceptence thus became more formidable with the crowd and the Brazilian Football Confederation were convinced that they had made the right choice. But then the tides turned and Brazil went to lose against Argentina and France in consecutive matches. In the 2011 Copa America Brazil gave one of their worst performances in history, winning just one of the four matches they played and ultimately going out of the tournament in the quarter final stage losing to Paraguay in penalty shootout with the Brazilians missing all four shots on goal. The honeymoon period for Menezes was over and it was the first time that the fans in Brazil voiced their discontent for the coach. Since then, the road has not been smooth for Menezes with Brazil relying heavily on a young side but failing to make a mark.Brazil had to settle for silver in the olympics
One of the features of Brazil is that the fans seem to attach themselves too much to the team and any loss in final is seen as a disgraceful event for the nation. Menezes found himself at the receiving end of the same emotion of the fans after Brazil lost the Olympic final to Mexico in August, 2012 despite an impressive overall performance from the team. Neymar, Hulk, Pato and Rafael were the standout players of the team which had to settle for silver in the end. That was no good done to the image of the beleaguered coach with Brazilian legend Romario calling for removal of Menezes. After that Brazil has given lacklustre performances against South Africa and Argentina, winning both the games by just a thin margin. Fans voraciously advocated for the removal of Menezes and would wait outside the training sessions to make their voices heard. The only exception was the match against China Republic which Brazil won 8-0. Meanwhile, Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazil’s World Cup winning coach of 2002 was sacked by his club Palmeiras and he expressed his desire to guide the team in the World Cup pf 2014. This move triggerd the inevitable with the fans wanting their hero back at the helm of the team. The Brazilian media also went heavily against Menezes.
Menezes meanwhile has played a masterstroke when he recalled Kaka to the national squad against Iraq, realising the importance of an experienced mid-fielder. He then showed the guts by playing two attacking mid-fileders, Kaka and Oscar. Both of them went on to score, with Brazil thrashing Iraq 6-0. Menezes got a breather after that match and would love to maintain his team’s form against Japan on Tuesday. With the World Cup still one and half years to go, it will now be interesting to see how Menezes shapes up his team or is he replaced by someone else at that job.
In the latest news, it is believed that Kaka has been appointed as Brazil’s captain for the Confederation Cup next year.