Soccer-Brazil turn to Dorival Junior to get World Cup qualification back on track

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Brasileiro Championship - Sao Paulo v Cuiaba - Estadio Morumbi, Sao Paulo, Brazil - November 26, 2023 Sao Paulo coach Dorival Junior before the match REUTERS/Carla Carniel/File Photo

(Reuters) -Dorival Junior, a Copa Libertadores and Brazilian Cup winner as manager of Flamengo, has been named as Brazil coach, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Wednesday.

The 61-year-old will take the reins of the five-times world champions after a turbulent period following their 2022 World Cup exit following a penalty shootout loss to Croatia, which led to the sacking of coach Tite.

Brazil were led by Under-20 coach Ramon Menezes before the appointment on an interim basis of Fernando Diniz last year.

Diniz was sacked on Friday, a day after Ednaldo Rodrigues was reinstated as head of the CBF following his dismissal in early December by the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice.

Rodrigues' intention was to hire Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, but after negotiations failed and he opted to extend his contract with Real Madrid, Dorival was the main candidate.

"Dorival Junior is the new coach of the men's national team. He will be presented at a news conference this Thursday at the CBF headquarters in Rio de Janeiro," the CBF said in a statement

Dorival, who has coached Atletico Mineiro, Atletico Paranaense, Internacional, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense and Palmeiras, led Flamengo to the Copa Libertadores and Copa do Brasil in 2022 before joining Sao Paulo, who confirmed his decision to leave on Sunday.

Restoring Brazil to their former glory will be no easy task.

Dorival takes the reins of a struggling side, who have made a poor start to South American World Cup qualifying, and sit sixth in the standings with two wins from six games and three defeats.

They last reached the World Cup final in 2002 when they lifted the trophy for the last time and have made the semi-finals only once at the following five editions of the tournament.

A series of managers have come and gone after failing to get their hands on the World Cup trophy.

At the 2006 tournament in Germany, they were eliminated by France in the last eight under Carlos Alberto Parreira, then with former midfield great Dunga at the helm, they lost to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals in 2010.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, who led them to their fifth and final World Cup title, returned for a second stint after the departure of Mano Menezes, but his hopes of leading them to glory on home soil in 2014 ended in a humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany.

Under Tite, who took the job in 2016, Brazil were among the favourites for the title in 2018 in Russia and in Qatar four years later but they crashed out in the quarters both times.

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City, Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)

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