Brazil need to be Brazil - not Barca: Scolari
SAO PAULO (AFP) –
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, tasked with delivering home-flavoured World Cup glory in 2014, insisted Friday his team had to develop its own identity and respect Brazilian characteristics, rather than pretend they are Barcelona.
“If we import (Ballon d’Or finalists and Barcelona stars Andres) Iniesta and (Leo) Messi and the players who play in Barcelona then we would play like Barcelona,” said Scolari, referring to Spaniard Iniesta and Argentina star Messi.
“But these are not our characteristics. We need a team to play good football — but according to the characteristics of our players,” said Scolari, who was in the dugout when Brazil landed their fifth and most recent World Cup title in 2002 in Japan.
Scolari, drafted for a second spell in charge after Brazil sacked predecessor Mano Menezes last week, insisted the Selecao could come good even though the current team lacks top-drawer international experience as they have no World Cup qualifiers to play, having pre-qualified as hosts.
“We have top players – I don’t agree we lack experience. Our team has many qualities. What is missing is the opportunity to play against stronger teams to see the reaction of the players in competition,” said the former Chelsea handler, who stressed the key was to strike a correct balance of youth and experience.
Asked to respond to earlier comments by 2002 star striker Ronaldo, who said Brazilian football was in the doldrums, Scolari looked vexed and snapped: “I don’t know what he is talking about – you have to ask him.”
Scolari insisted he had been given a challenge which enthused him – starting with June’s Confederations Cup.
“It is an interesting opportunity, especially for me as this competition is in Brazil. It’s the first time this tournament has been held in Brazil. We face difficult matches – in the past three years we didn’t have any qualifiers so this is an opportunity to see how our players will react at this level.”