Scolari first took over a year before Brazil’s 2002 win over Germany in Tokyo with the team struggling in the qualifiers.
This time, as the hosts they have had to live off a diet of friendlies — the Confederations Cup aside — but Scolari’s steady hand and authoritarian gaze are widely seen as assets.
Even Pele gave his seal of approval, having voiced doubts when Scolari replaced Mano Menezes a year ago.
“I think we have what it takes to be champions. With Felipao [Scolari], the team has improved,” Pele said.
In rising above the protests to show Spain they cannot count on being top dogs for much longer, Brazil this year created a platform for World Cup year, when they will finally seek to cast off the memory of losing the 1950 final to upstart neighbors Uruguay.