Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari refused to discuss whether he would resign following yesterday’s nightmare match against Germany in the semi-final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Scolari issued an apology to the Brazilian people, calling the defeat “The worst day of my life.” Interestingly, though, he made sure the players shared some of the blame and there was no mention of his resignation, as he vowed to continue—per Mail Online:
"I’ll be remembered probably because I lost 7-1, the worst defeat Brazil have ever had," he said, "but that was a risk I knew I was running when I accepted this position. Life goes on. That’s what I’ll do.”
Failing to navigate the route to the World Cup final is one thing. To capitulate so spectacularly, though, must surely signal the end of Scolari's time in the Selecao hot seat.
With key players Neymar and Thiago Silva missing, through back injury and suspension respectively, the host nation were up against it even before the match started.
Throughout the tournament, it was apparent that Scolari had struggled to find a striker who could help ease Neymar’s burden. Fred, Hulk and Jo have all flattered to deceive. Thiago Silva’s organisational skills and calmness in defence would also be sorely missed. Therefore, although defeat to Germany at this stage of the tournament would hurt, it could perhaps have been forgiven.
Not this one, though.
In the face of such setbacks, responsibility fell squarely on the shoulders of Scolari, one of the world’s most respected coaches, to inspire his side to reach the final. Yet Brazil left the field battered, bruised and humiliated in front of their own fans by a powerful German performance.
In the face of adversity, and with the stakes high, Scolari appeared to have made some grave mistakes. The failure to find a replacement for Neymar is hardly all down to the coach—he can only work with those players at his disposal. However, there were more glaring errors.
Before the match, the Brazil players were seen holding up a shirt with Neymar’s name and there was talk of winning the World Cup for the injured striker by the likes of Fred, David Luiz and even Scolari himself, per the Mail Online. In his column for Eurosport, ex-Manchester United defender Paul Parker was scathing about Scolari allowing his side to “get carried away with this Neymar nonsense.” He believes that “Big Phil” should “fall on his sword.”
Allowing sentimentality to get in the way did not appear to be the only mistake made, though. When trying to cope with the absence of a key defensive leader, handing the captaincy to the maverick central defender David Luiz seems a mistake.
Although far from the only player to under perform, Luiz would reward the trust that Scolari showed him by putting in a display that was riddled with errors and ill-discipline. That's hardly the inspiration that his team-mates required. Heartbroken, Luiz would leave the field in tears as a scapegoat for this footballing catastrophe—despite calls not to treat him as such coming from his ex-club manager Jose Mourinho, per James Dickenson of the Express.
The 7-1 loss equals the nation’s heaviest-ever defeat—a 6-0 drubbing which came against Uruguay back in 1920. Worse than that, Tuesday’s match will surely now take its place alongside the Maracanazo, the 2-1 World Cup defeat on home soil—also against Uruguay—that has haunted the country since 1950. The Guardian has already dubbed the thrashing as “the Mineiraoazo.”
The Brazilian media, clearly in a state of shock, have condemned the defeat as a “disgrace of disgraces,” as Reuters reports, via Eurosport.
Once the feeling of shock subsides, there will no doubt be inquests. Once they start, if Scolari doesn’t offer his own resignation, it is difficult to see how the Brazilian FA can possibly let him remain in his post.