Football: Around the world - Portugal turn to television analyst to revive national team's fortunes

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Imagine, if you can, Scotland ignoring the claims of all the experienced managers at their disposal when they come to replace Craig Brown as national coach - and appointing Alan Hansen. Or, stretching your credulity just a little further, the Republic of Ireland replacing Mick McCarthy with Eamon Dunphy.

Unlikely - but it has happened in Portugal, where the new national coach is a man with no international experience who has not been in charge of a club side since 1986 - since when he has made his name as a television football analyst.

Humberto Coelho, a 47-year-old former player with Benfica and Paris St- Germain, replaces Artur Jorge, who resigned in October when Portugal failed to qualify for the World Cup finals.

A central defender, Coelho won eight Portuguese titles in 14 seasons with Benfica in the 1970s and 80s. He then played for PSG between 1975 and 1977, and appeared 64 times for the national team. As a coach he had brief spells in charge of both Salgueiros and Sporting Braga in the mid 1980s - but this decade his only involvement in football beyond the media has been as the founder of a coaching school in Lisbon.


Although Brazil have, as expected, reached the final of the Confederations Cup, after goals from Romario and Ronaldo gave them a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic in yesterday's semi-final in Riyadh, all is not well in their camp.

Pele, World Cup winner turned sports minister, is worried about the form of the national team after some recent unconvincing performances.

"We have won and settled matches thanks to the individual skill of some players but the team as a whole worries me," Pele said this week. He still believes that Brazil's coach, Mario Zagallo, will find the right formula in time to defend the World Cup - but he blamed the hectic schedule of top players, like the out-of-form Ronaldo, for the team's lacklustre performances.

"They have been involved in several unnecessary games," Pele said. "They could have played a lot less, but because of their contracts they have been taken back and forth, which is very tiring."

Meanwhile, back in the bizarre world of Brazilian club football, the Porto Alegre side Internacional claimed this week that one of their players had failed a drug test because he had eaten bread rolls covered in poppy seeds on the morning of a game.

The midfielder Anderson tested positive for morphine after a 4-0 defeat by Santos in the Brazilian Championship. Internacional's doctors said that, since Anderson was tested, they had carried out an experiment on four local students, who also tested positive for the same drug after eating the same type of rolls, which had been served for breakfast in the team hotel.


The Spanish Second Division club Levante want supporters so badly that they will let them in for free at their next game.

Levante, bottom of the table with 12 points from 19 games, host the leaders, Rayo Vallecano, tomorrow. Attendances have dropped to barely four figures at recent home matches.