Luiz Felipe Scolari led the Brazilian national team to a World Cup title in 2002. Anything short of the same result in his second stint leading one of the world's most talented squads will be considered a failure, which sets him up to fail.
The Associated Press reports (h/t ESPN.com) Scolari, sometimes known by his affectionate nickname, “Big Phil,” will officially be given the reins on Thursday by the Brazilian Football Confederation. He's slated to replace Mano Menezes, who was let go last week.
While Scolari surely cherishes the opportunity to lead Brazil again, the situation he enters is going to put a lot of pressure on him immediately—and it won't go away until after the 2014 World Cup, which the nation is hosting.
Getting rid of Menezes even though he was posting some reasonable results shows the Brazilian federation isn't going to accept the status quo. It wants to see real progress ahead of the World Cup, and Menezes wasn't providing it.
By going back to Scolari, Brazil is hoping lightning strikes twice. It brought him in prior to the 2002 World Cup and he was able to get the talented roster into top form in time for the tournament. The Brazilians proceeded to beat Germany in the final.
The question becomes: Can he do it again? It's the only way the coaching change will be considered a success about 20 months from now.
He has enough stars to make it happen. 20-year-old sensation Neymar continues to shine and should be even further along in his development by the time 2014 rolls around. The same goes for 21-year-old Chelsea midfielder Oscar.
Getting the nation's next wave of superstars to jell with a veteran group led by players like Dani Alves and Kaka is the key. It sounds like an easy task, but getting a group of great players to play as one cohesive unit is tough.
Just ask Menezes.
Making matters worse, if Scolari's not about to lead another turnaround similar to what he did a decade ago, it's going to alter the way fans view him.
He already struggled to garner respect after the first title. If Brazil ends up having a disappointing result under his watch, the nostalgia won't be enough to change the negative perception it will cast on him. It's a what-have-you-done-lately business, after all.
So while Scolari returns to high hopes, the chances of failure are high. It will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.