Soccer

Brazil national team coach Menezes fired

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Associated Press
11/23/2012 1:22:56 PM
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SAO PAULO, Brazil -- The Brazil football federation has fired national team coach Mano Menezes.

Federation director Andres Sanchez said the decision to fire the coach came after a meeting in Sao Paulo on Friday.

He said federation president Jose Maria Marin made the change because he "wants new methods and new planning" ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

The news came two days after Brazil beat Argentina on penalties to win the Superclassic of the Americas, a two-leg series in which the South American rivals use players from local clubs. It was Brazil's final match of the year.

World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who is without a job, is one of the names touted to replace Menezes, but Sanchez said he doesn't think negotiations for a new coach are under way.

Menezes was heavily criticized earlier this year because of the team's lacklustre play, but good results recently had helped ease the complaints from fans and local media.

He coached Brazil for 33 matches, leading it to 21 victories, six losses and six draws. The main complaint against Menezes was that his team struggled in games against top teams and only beat the weaker sides.

The calls for Menezes' firing increased significantly after he failed to lead Brazil to the 2012 Olympic gold medal despite having most of his top players available at the under-23 tournament in London, including Neymar and Oscar. Brazil lost the final to Mexico at Wembley.

Menezes was jeered by fans in Sao Paulo when Brazil struggled in a 1-0 win over South Africa in a friendly in September.

Pele and Romario have been among Menezes's critics.

Scolari, who led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title in South Korea and Japan, never ruled out coaching the national team again, but he was tied with Brazilian club Palmeiras until earlier this year. His contract with Palmeiras ended after he failed to improve the team's situation in the Brazilian league, and fans immediately called for his return to the national squad.

When Brazil struggled in a recent match against Argentina, fans chanted "Goodbye, Mano," and "Come back Scolari."

Menezes took over after Brazil's elimination at the 2010 World Cup, when a team coached by former player Dunga fell to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

Muricy Ramalho was the first choice, but the four-time Brazilian league champion turned the job down because of his contract with Fluminense at the time.

Menezes had coached Gremio and Corinthians in Brazil but had no previous international experience.

Mano Menezes (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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