Brazil suffered another embarrassing defeat as they lost 3-0 to Netherlands in the third-place play-off in Brasilia on Saturday and the coach must go after a World Cup nightmare
By Greg Stobart in Brazil
Luiz Felipe Scolari claimed in the aftermath that Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany would not be repeated in 1000 years – but at one stage it felt like they might suffer a similar fate just four days after the most embarrassing game in the country’s history.
The hosts were spared the ignominy of another massacre but Saturday night’s 3-0 defeat to Netherlands in the third-place play-off game in Brasilia will surely be the final straw for their coach.
It comes to something when a three-goal defeat for the five-time world champions barely registers.
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Yet Del Nero might have had a change of heart when he heard the chorus of boos for Scolari when his face appeared on the big screen at the Mane Garrincha stadium as 70,000 people spoke for the 200 million in this country. The jeers were even louder when the Brazil squad sheepishly saluted the fans after the final whistle. This was not how it was supposed to end.
Scolari spoke before the Netherlands defeat about restoring pride to the nation but, if the 65-year-old had any pride himself, he would have stepped down immediately after the Germany catastrophe in Belo Horizonte.
Felipao is tainting his reputation by the day as he clings on to his job and will now be remembered as the man who brought Brazilian football to its nadir, rather than the coach who led them to World Cup glory in 2002.
From leaving the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Moura out of the 23-man squad, to persisting with Paulinho for far too long, to sending out sides with no semblance of a gameplan other than to give the ball to Neymar; everything has unravelled for Scolari over the last month.
He has reiterated time and again that the semi-final was a freak, unlucky result but he lost one of his excuses within two minutes on Saturday night.
Brazil, we were told, would never have been destroyed by the Germans so brutally had captain Thiago Silva not been suspended but the centre-back lost Arjen Robben in the opening exchanges, dragged back the Netherlands winger and conceded a penalty. Silva was fortunate that the referee was feeling sympathetic for the Selecao and chose only to book him, when it was clearly a red-card offence.
Robin van Persie scored from the penalty spot and, 14 minutes later, the scoreline was doubled after more playground defending.
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The same could be said for his new club-mate, Silva, who was caught completely flat-footed as Georginio Wijnaldum steered in the third in added time.
Or for Fernandinho. The Manchester City midfielder had another evening to forgot after his shambolic performance against Germany and never got to grips with the Holland midfielders.
The Brazil squad was clearly crushed by the back injury sustained by Neymar in the quarter-final victory over Colombia that ruled him out for the rest of the tournament but nobody here will allow Scolari to use the Neymar excuse to wriggle out of taking responsibility.
Scolari was re-hired by Brazil in 2012 solely to win this year’s World Cup. He failed and will now, surely, lose his job. While Brazilian tears have been flowing ever since Tuesday night’s semi-final, none will be shed for the coach.