Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Brazil deliver on the pitch amid headaches

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO

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.

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