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May 28, 2017

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Brazil coach Scolari fired after World Cup failure

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil's soccer confederation will not renew the contract of national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, local media reported on Monday, after the five-time World Cup winners were mauled by Germany in a humiliating 7-1 defeat on home soil.

News of Scolari's fate broke just after midnight Sunday, hours after Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in Rio de Janeiro to win the 2014 World Cup.

Brazilians had long been hoping that they would be playing in the final and would likely win the tournament.

On Saturday, speaking after Brazil lost the tournament's third place game 3-0 to the Netherlands, Scolari said that he would let the Football Confederation (CBF) decide his future.

The Netherlands defeat came after Germany crushed Scolari's Selecao 7-1 on Tuesday at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte.

That defeat was Brazil's most devastating performance since losing the 1950 final Cup game to Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro, a black mark on the nation's psyche known as the "Maracanazo."

Parreira Also Out

The CBF also fired the whole technical committee, including technical coordinator Carlos Alberto Parreira, local media reported.

Parreira had managed Brazil to a World Cup victory in 1994.

Scolari, 65, best known by his nickname Felipao, led Brazil to a World Cup victory in 2002 in Japan. He took over the team in December 2012, replacing the sacked Mano Menezes, just before Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup.

Brazil won that tournament, seen as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, 3-0 in a final match over reigning champions Spain.

Brazil then began preparing for what they hoped would be a sixth World Cup trophy.

Critics however remained unconvinced by Scolari's decision to ditch Brazil's "jogo bonito" of skillful play and focus on strength and rough tactics, arguing that results mattered more than an artful game.

Brazilians will not easily forget the July 8 disaster, now known as the "Mineirazo," an event that shocked its supporters around the world.

Who to Blame for Defeat?

Scolari accepted full responsibility for the humiliating thrashing. "Who is responsible for choosing players? It's me. The responsibility for the catastrophic results are mine," he told reporters after the Germany game.

The following day Brazil captain Thiago Silva defended Scolari.

"The defeat was not Felipao's fault. We are a group, and although I was not on the field I am part of that group," said Silva, who missed the record 7-1 defeat due to suspension.

However Romario, a world champion in 1994 and now a Socialist lawmaker, says the problem is political and that the Football Confederation must shoulder the blame.

One day after the semi-final thrashing, Romario said the CBF was plagued by corruption because clubs have elected the same leaders for years.

"Our football has been deteriorating for years. It is being dragged down by leaders who don't even have the talent to juggle the ball," Romario said in a letter posted on social media.

"They stay in their luxury box seats, enjoying the millions that go into their accounts," the 1994 World Cup winner said.

He said the CBF's octogenarian president Jose Maria Marin and his deputy, 73 year-old Marco Polo del Nero, who will take over in 2015, "should be in prison."

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