Felipão may be a ten-year step in the wrong direction

As expected, the CBF have appointed Luiz Felipe Scolari, Felipão, as the new head coach of the seleção, replacing Mano Menezes. The clues were laid out for all to see when Felipão was appointed as a consultant to the Ministry of Sport at the end of September, not long after leaving his post as head coach of Palmeiras.

While on the one hand Mano Menezes is cold, serious and thoughtful, Felipão is charismatic, cheery, and has a far better connection with the Brazilian public. Considering the magnitude of the task of leading Brazil to the 2014 World Cup, Felipão’s personality fits the bill. Continue reading Felipão may be a ten-year step in the wrong direction

Tactical shift propels Palmeiras to Copa do Brasil glory

Palmeiras are one of Brazil’s most prestigious football clubs, but since the start of the 21st century, they have been sorely starved of success. The end of the last millennium was a different story though, and with the backing of Italian food corporation Parmalat, Palmeiras amassed a wide range of trophies in the 1990’s: two Campeonato Brasileiro wins (1993 & 94), three Campeonato Paulistas (1993, 94 & 96), the Torneio Rio-São Paulo (1993), the Copa do Brasil and Copa Mercosul (both in 1998), and of course, the Copa Libertadores of 1999.

However, at the turn of the century the Parmalat partnership came to an end. The Italians upped sticks and so, it seemed, did Palmeiras’ winning attitude. The Verdão fell on hard times, even suffering relegation in 2001. Years of mediocrity followed, and their only notable honour in the 2000’s was the Campeonato Paulista of 2008.

Now, nearly 20 years on from their momentous Paulistão triumph over rivals Corinthians in 1993, Palmeiras are showing tentative signs of recuperation. Luiz Felipe Scolari (or Felipão as he is known in Brazil), the coach who led Palmeiras to those famous Copa do Brasil and Copa Libertadores triumphs, is back in charge, and despite constant behind-the-scenes power struggles, they are managing to build a competitive squad once again. Wednesday evening’s Copa do Brasil victory was as a testament to that. Continue reading Tactical shift propels Palmeiras to Copa do Brasil glory

Game of the Week: Palmeiras 3×3 São Paulo

Without any Copa Libertadores games this week, this edition sees Game of the Week going back to its roots with a good old fashioned São Paulo derby in the Campeonato Paulista.

The Palmeiras x São Paulo FC clássico (commonly known as the Choque-Rei) is a strong and well-regarded derby, especially considering that both sides regard Corinthians as their biggest rivals. Sunday’s match marked the 300th Choque-Rei in history, and in the scorching Presidente Prudente sun, we were served up an exhilarating 3×3 draw. Continue reading Game of the Week: Palmeiras 3×3 São Paulo

Marcos: The Last of the Old Guard

I first became interested in Brazilian football because of its passion, rawness, and purity. Whenever a player celebrated a goal, it was like he had just slotted the winner in the World Cup final against Argentina in a packed Maracanã. Furthermore, players (and managers) were not afraid to get involved in arguments, punch-ups, or even full-scale brawls. Players were so emotionally invested in the game, and for someone used to the bright, shiny, commercialized Champions League (sponsored by Sony, Ford, MasterCard, Heineken, UniCredit…), this was so refreshing.

However, from fans and pundits alike, I heard constant complaints that Brazilian football was turning into the “futebol moderno” that was associated with the Champions League, and people were clamouring for a return to the football of the 90’s. Continue reading Marcos: The Last of the Old Guard