Future of Brazilian coach still unclear

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The Independent Online

Confusion reigned over the future of the Brazil coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, last night after reports that the Brazilian Football Confederation had replaced him as head of the national team with the Cruzeiro coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Confusion reigned over the future of the Brazil coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, last night after reports that the Brazilian Football Confederation had replaced him as head of the national team with the Cruzeiro coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Angry supporters hurled abuse at Luxemburgo and his Olympic squad when they arrived at São Paulo airport yesterday after the team's failure to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the Olympic football tournament, when they were eliminated by a Cameroon side reduced to nine players.

But the beleaguered coach denied he had been dismissed and insisted he expected to be in charge for the World Cup qualifying match against Venezuela on 8 October. The Confederation president, Ricardo Teixeira, who is due to leave Australia for Brazil today, plans to make the announcement in Rio on Friday, the Brazilian newspapers O Globo and Zero Hora reported.

Pressure has been mounting for months to replace Luxemburgo, who has failed to repeat with the national team the success he enjoyed with Palmeiras, Corinthians and other clubs. Luxemburgo took over the national squad from Mario Zagallo in 1998, shortly after Brazil lost 3-0 to France in the World Cup final in Paris. When Brazil won the Copa America in 1999, it seemed he was on the right track. But the team has never lived up to its promise and has seemed to go downhill from that point.

The low point came in August, when the they lost 3-0 to Chile in a World Cup qualifier. Brazil, the only country to qualify for every World Cup, are in fourth place in the South American standings and are far from assured of appearing in the tournament in 2002.

Luxemburgo has also been plagued by off-field problems. A former business associate, Renata Moura Alves, told police that Luxemburgo allegedly evaded taxes and ran an illegal scheme selling players and buying apartments and cars with the undeclared profits. Luxemburgo has denied the accusations.

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