By TALES AZZONI, Associated Press
SAO PAULO (AP) — Luiz Felipe Scolari is back in charge of Brazil's national soccer team, and he said Thursday he knows that anything but a sixth World Cup title at the 2014 tournament will be considered a failure.
The Brazilian soccer federation hired Scolari to lead Brazil through the World Cup, marking his return 10 years after leading the team to the 2002 World Cup title. He replaces Mano Menezes, who was fired last week because the federation didn't like his methods.
"It needs to be clear to all Brazilians: We have the obligation to win the title. We will be playing in front of our fans," Scolari said. "We are not the favorites right now, but we will work hard to make sure that we are during the tournament.
"A country with five world titles will not play hoping to finish second, third or fourth."
The former Chelsea and Portugal coach, who has been without a job since leaving Brazilian club Palmeiras, led Brazil to its fifth World Cup title at the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.
"It's with great satisfaction that I return to work for Brazil in a great project like this, ahead of the 2014 World Cup," Scolari said.
Fans called for the popular Scolari's return after the much-criticized Menezes left, chanting his name in recent matches the national team played in Brazil.
"We made this decision thinking on what is best for Brazilian football, thinking about the fans," Brazilian federation president Jose Maria Marin said. "We are putting the fate of the national team in competent hands ahead of next year's Confederations Cup and the World Cup, which is our main objective."
The announcement gives Brazil a coach ahead of the Confederations Cup draw on Saturday, when the hosts will find out the team it will play the opener in June.
The federation also announced Thursday that Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to the 1994 World Cup title in the United States, will be the national team's coordinator. Parreira also coached Brazil in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
"We are here to help and to give our support," Parreira said. "There is only one goal, which is to win the World Cup. Nobody can even think about Brazil not winning the World Cup at home."
The duo will lead a team with few experienced players but filled with young, promising stars such as Neymar, Oscar and Lucas.
"I wish a lot of luck to my friend Parreira and to Felipao," former Brazil striker Romario said. "We know that now we will have the best players picked for the team."
The 64-year-old Scolari had said his goal was to end his career by coaching a national team during the World Cup in Brazil.
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