2012 Olympic Football: What's Next for Brazil After Gold-Medal Match Failure?
When the final whistle blew on the 2012 Olympic football tournament, Brazil's future suddenly became a bit murky.
With a squad that had all the dazzle of a senior Brazil team but with the competition of an Under-23 tournament, anything less than a gold medal in London was bound to be viewed as a great disappointment. So when Oscar missed the final chance of the match and sent A Seleção to a 2-1 loss to Mexico and a silver medal, Brazil's failure was complete.
The loss is just another in a cluster of tournament disappointments for Brazil over the past several years.
Their losses in the 2006 and 2010 World Cup quarterfinals to the eventual runners-up France and the Netherlands, respectively, were both tough pills to swallow for sides that were favored to win the tournament.
To be fair, the Brazilians did win the 2007 Copa America and 2009 Confederations Cup.
However, Brazil's biggest disappointment had to have been their destruction at the 2011 Copa America, where they were defeated by Paraguay in the quarterfinals.
Further, it was another major failure for budding superstar Neymar, who had previously suffered a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Barcelona in the 2011 Club World Cup final.
So what's next for Brazil?
Well, the team's failure to win the gold medal or last year's Copa America makes the firing of Brazilian coach Mano Menezes a distinct possibility.
That would give the Brazilians two years to find a new coach and develop around his system before they host the 2014 World Cup. As much of a burden as that sounds, the lack of meaningful qualification matches and the glorified warm-up better known as the 2013 Confederations Cup gives Brazil the chance to make such a move work.
Meanwhile, it gives this team and its young talent two years to develop and recover from this loss.
But, where might Brazil turn to for their next coach?
If I were them, I would look no further than Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Big Phil coached the national team to glory at the 2002 World Cup after taking over just a year earlier. Afterward, he coached Portugal to some of their greatest heights in national team history. Since then, his performance at the club level has been less than stellar, as he could not last a full season at Chelsea.
Scolari is now back in Brazil, managing Serie A club Palmeiras.
A proven winner in the international ranks, Phil Scolari would be a fantastic coach for Brazil going forward.
As to the players, it should be yet another wake-up call: just because you wear a Brazil shirt, play the most dazzling football and possess the most talent,it does not mean it is your right to win.
This fact is surely ingrained in the psyche of every Brazilian after their silver medals which should be good for the team's future.
The loss to Mexico today was a tough one to take for Brazil. Instead of what was expected be a celebration of the country's first gold medal, many are now examining the present and future of the team.
But, do not despair, Brazil.
This existential questioning could lead to the changes that usher in a new age of good times for A Seleção.
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