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Nov 28, 2012

Reports: Luis Felipe Scolari to Brazil

SAO PAULO -- Luiz Felipe Scolari is expected to be named as the new Brazil coach, returning to the national team 10 years after leading the country to the 2002 World Cup title.

The official announcement is expected to be made by Brazilian federation president Jose Maria Marin on Thursday.

The president said Wednesday that a new coach has been selected, and sources close to Scolari and the Brazilian federation confirmed to local media that the outspoken Scolari was the one chosen to lead Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.

He would replace Mano Menezes, who was fired last week after Marin said he didn't like the coach's methods.

The likely announcement of Scolari will keep Brazil from being without a representative in Saturday's Confederations Cup draw, when the team will find out who it will play in the tournament's opener next June. Brazil will host the warm-up tournament and the World Cup with a team led by young promising stars such as Neymar, Oscar and Lucas.

Scolari has been without a job since leaving Brazilian club Palmeiras a few months ago. The former Chelsea and Portugal coach helped Palmeiras win the Brazilian Cup this year, but the team struggled under his command and was eventually relegated to the second division. Scolari had already been replaced, but admitted his part of responsibility for the demotion. Scolari had recently turned down jobs with Russia's national team and Brazilian clubs Gremio and Cruzeiro.

Marin said that a new national team coordinator will also be announced on Thursday, replacing director Andres Sanchez, who publicly said he was against Menezes' dismissal. Carlos Alberto Parreira, the coach when Brazil won the 1994 World Cup, was touted for that job.

Parreira also coached Brazil in the 2006 World Cup, when the team was eliminated by France in the quarterfinals.

Mario Zagallo was Brazil's national team coordinator in 1994 and 2006, and Zico was in the position in 1998. The post was eliminated for the 2010 World Cup, when Dunga was the coach.

Sanchez, who had been the person directly in charge of the national team, had said discussions about the new coach would only begin after Christmas and the announcement wasn't expected until early January.

Marin said earlier this week that he likely wouldn't hire a foreign coach, ending speculation that former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola could be a candidate. Marin said he respected Guardiola but there were many good coaches in Brazil.

Others reportedly in the running for the job were Corinthians coach Tite, former Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo and Fluminense coach Abel Braga, who led his team to the Brazilian league title this year. Santos coach Muricy Ramalho, who turned down the Brazil job because of club commitments in 2010, reportedly was also in the running.

There was also talk about Zico, the Brazil great who previously coached Japan. He is in Brazil and announced Wednesday that he was resigning as coach of Iraq's national team of because of a contract breach.

Marin fired Menezes saying he wanted the national team to head in a different direction. The coach led Brazil to 21 victories, six losses and six draws since replacing Dunga in 2010, but he was marked by disappointing results against traditional rivals such as Germany, France, Argentina and the Netherlands.

He also failed to win the Copa America and failed to win Olympic gold, which is the only football trophy the five-time world champions haven't won.

Sanchez, the former president of Brazilian club Corinthians, had criticized the president's decision to fire Menezes because the coach had already established his methods. Sanchez delivered his resignation letter to Marin on Tuesday.

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