> Sports > 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP 

   30 May, 2002 | 1945 IST



Cup Friendlies

  More Slide Shows

Big Phil to put Brazil on the attack

E-Mail this report to a friend
Print this page Best Printed on  HP Laserjets

Brian Homewood

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who has fielded ultra-defensive sides since taking over one year ago, appears set to make an amazing U-turn on the eve of the World Cup and put his team on the attack.

Scolari, the man who last year claimed that playing attractive football belonged to the past, is contemplating sending Brazil into Monday's game against Turkey with one of their most adventurous line-ups in a World Cup match since 1986.

The introduction of attacking midfielder Juninho in place of the more defensive Kleberson, who started Saturday's friendly against Malaysia, has given Brazil a much more positive look.

The prospect has both pleased and stunned Brazilian commentators, who have been left wondering whether hours of listening to the Bee Gees -- Scolari's favourite pastime at the team hotel -- has gone to his head.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and his ace player RivaldoThe man known as Big Phil, after all, firmly believes that a good team starts at the back.

He has publicly encouraged his players to foul the opposition, once chastised his team for not doing enough time-wasting and has even told the likes of Rivaldo and Ronaldo that they should do their fair share of marking and tackling.

He claims that the exuberant football played by Brazil in the past has no place in modern game and says that all that matters to is to win.


He once said: "If we have to play ugly football to win, we will."

In line with this, Scolari has consistently fielded two marking specialists in midfield as well as three defenders and two full-backs. He has stubbornly refused to change despite criticism that the formation is far too defensive.

This week, he has suddenly switched to a much more ambitious formation in Brazil's training sessions and says he plans to use it against the Turks.

Apparently betraying his own principles, Scolari has sacrificed one of his marking specialists in midfield and replaced him with Juninho.

With the creative skills of Ronaldinho in midfield and the Ronaldo and Rivaldo in attack, Cafu and Roberto Carlos attacking down the flanks and Lucio breaking out of defence, Scolari has instantly turned his dour, defensive outfit into one which looks capable of upholding Brazil's attacking traditions.

Scolari, pragmatic as ever, denies a drastic change in strategy and says that, after exhaustive study of Turkey, bringing in Juninho is the best way to win Monday's match.

"We decided that Juninho's characteristics make him the ideal player against Turkey's 3-3-3-1 formation," he said.

Brazil are now likely to start with Marcos in goal, Lucio, Roque Junior and Edmilson in defence and Cafu and Roberto Carlos on the flanks and captain Emerson doing the dirty work in midfield.

Scolari insists he has not changed his ideology and could go back to his original formation depending on future opponents or if Brazil perform badly on Monday.

Brazilians will hope that will not be necessary.

Back to top
(c) Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


(c) 2002 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.