Brazilian coach under fire after second defeat

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The Independent Football

Brazil returned home sad and ashamed yesterday after the previous night's humiliating 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat away to Chile.

Brazil returned home sad and ashamed yesterday after the previous night's humiliating 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat away to Chile.

"I feel like the rest of the Brazilian population - sad," the coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, said as he arrived at Sao Paulo airport following the flight from Santiago. Rivaldo, who once again failed to live up to his billing as world player of the year, said: "All Brazilians and all the players are ashamed of what happened yesterday in Santiago."

Marcelo Salas, who was named in Chile's Olympic squad yesterday, set up two goals and scored one, outshining Rivaldo. The Chilean's virtuoso display began in the 25th minute when he flicked the ball over Marcos Assuncao and then crossed for Fabian Estay to fire Chile ahead.

Salas struck again one minute before half-time when he dispossessed Antonio Carlos on the edge of the penalty area and sent over a low cross to Ivan Zamorano, who calmly slotted the ball beyond the stranded Brazilian goalkeeper, Dida.

Despite a nagging thigh injury which had made him doubtful for the game, Salas crowned his performance in the 73rd minute when he controlled a cross from David Pizarro on his chest at the far post and then fired the ball into the roof of the net.

Brazil dropped to fourth in the South American World Cup qualifying group with 11 points from five games. With only the top four qualifying automatically for the 2002 World Cup, the possibility of finishing fifth and having to play off against the winners of the Oceania region - almost certainly Australia or New Zealand - is becoming a real possibility.

Brazil had only lost one World Cup qualifier in their history until the start of the current tournament. Now, following a defeat in Paraguay last month, they have lost two out of three matches.

Luxemburgo resorted to mathematics in his attempt to try and explain. "If I'm not wrong, Brazil had only ever played 44 World Cup qualifiers before this year," he said after the match. "Now, we have to play 18 in this tournament, so the chances of us losing are much greater."

Luxemburgo's critics argue that the chances of defeat have increased because of the coach's constant chopping and changing. Brazil have yet to field the same team twice in the tournament and Luxemburgo now looks like a man who has completely lost his way.

Luizao became Brazil's 12th different striker in seven World Cup qualifying matches when he replaced Amoroso at half-time. Antonio Carlos and Edmilson, meanwhile, formed the fourth different central defensive partnership in seven outings.

The changes were partly due to suspensions, but this in itself is a result of what seems a worrying tendency by the players to resort to violence.

Nearly all the Brazilian media agreed on Thursday that Assuncao should have been sent off for a tackle which took Chile's Marcos Villaseca out of the match as early as the 13th minute. Instead he was booked by the lenient Paraguayan official, Epifanio Gonzalez.

Emerson Ferreira was also lucky to stay on the field for a cynical tackle on an opponent late in the game. The foul earned him his third yellow card in six outings.