It's time to move on, Big Phil
Dear Mr. Scolari,
A couple of weeks ago I wrote to you, calling you a very stubborn man. Please forgive me for overstepping my mark, but frustration had gotten the best of me after it took you two and half games and the possibility, albeit remote, of first-round elimination to shuffle your Selecao lineup.
Since then, it has been a heck of a ride, but unfortunately, the ride turned nauseating after your team suffered the biggest loss in the history of Brazilian football. The ridiculous 7-1 score at the end of a World Cup semifinal would indeed only look acceptable if the Selecao were playing the Monstars from "Space Jam."
Germany won the Belo Horizonte game fair and square, which means you're out of excuses to explain how, exactly, the Selecao were humbled in such an emphatic way at home. Apart from the fact this is one of the most brilliant generation of German players in recent memory, you got your tactics wrong to play them.
As you yourself said in your most recent news conference, the damage can't be undone. But I can't just help thinking that buccaneering against Joachim Low's team from the start wasn't the best of ideas. After all, this is one of the fastest and slickest sides in the world; the way they transition from defense to attack has made many a manager regretful. You had a chance to offer more resistance and try to steal a goal from a set piece -- you know it well, the kind of situation in which Brazil scored six of their 11 goals in this competition.
Nobody in Brazil would have moaned too much if you had parked the bus a bit, for you were missing Neymar and Thiago Silva. So what were you trying to do? There would have been no shame in losing narrowly to a side that reached the semifinals for the fourth time in a row while Brazil had been stopped in the quarters in the past two editions. We also agreed when you said that Low's men have been "programmed" for a huge performance in Brazil.
But 7-1? I wish I wasn't as busy as I was trying to cheer up some of your players after the match, because I'd have liked to thank Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller for actually slowing down things a bit in the second half so the Selecao didn't join American Samoa in some kind of hall of shame. As much as it might feel like kicking a man when he's down, you've made your position untenable.
True, you didn't play, while the 14 guys you used in the match are hardly schoolboys parachuted into the side -- even though Bernard looked as tiny as some of the player escorts, which showed big-time when his collision with Manuel Neuer was as fruitful as Pikachu charging at Optimus Prime.
Brazil's tradition of being trigger-happy with managers is bad, and losing a tournament should not be an automatic sacking offence. Scarring a whole generation of Brazilians, on the other hand, is. Just as you said so many times in your news conferences, the buck has to stop with the person responsible for choosing players, deciding which ones are going to play and how they are going to be organized on the pitch. Yeah, that's you, the person who did not have a Plan B and who, unlike other colleagues in this tournament, hesitated too much to adapt to a rolling situation and instead resorted to seek conspiracies galore.
Brazil 1-7 Germany -- reaction
- Marcotti: Scolari at a loss to explain
- Jones: Seven stages of grief for Brazil
- Duarte: Haunting defeat for the Selecao
- Delaney: Three Points - Brazil broken by Germany
- Low: German plan worked perfectly
- Behind the Numbers: Germany's historic win
- Photo Gallery: Best of Brazil vs. Germany
- Klose breaks World Cup goals record | Highlight
- Social reaction: Brazil, did that just happen?
While one can hardly say a World Cup semifinal is a bad result, the quality of football delivered by Brazil was lacking in several departments. Brazilians would have accepted a defeat with honor. Not a capitulation. You should have had resigned on Tuesday, with dignity.
Brazilian supporters will never forget what you did 12 years ago by overseeing a legendary conquest of a fifth World Cup. But they are just as likely to never forget 2014, too, but for all the wrong reasons. It is time for new ideas at several levels of the game in Brazil, but a new philosophy from the Selecao manager, whomever it may be, ranks high on the list of priorities.
There aren't so many good candidates around, I know -- my heart sinks when former Corinthians manager Tite gets mentioned, because his appointment would hardly spark a revolution. Nor do I jump with joy at the mere thought that Leonardo could squeeze in. Alexandre Gallo, in charge of the Brazilian youth teams, would be a new beginning -- putting aside the fact it was his report from the German games that nudged you into deploying that careless formation in Belo Horizonte. Marcelo Oliveira, who made Cruzeiro play the most exciting football in Brazil in 2013 -- they won the league with several rounds to spare -- is another dark horse.
Recent times haven't been kind to Brazilian managers, whose absences in this World Cup have been duly noted. Still, this shouldn't be an excuse for nostalgia to reign over reasons. Thanks for the memories, Big Phil. But it's time.
Fernando Duarte is a U.K.-based Brazilian football expert who has reported on the Selecao for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter @Fernando_Duarte.