LONDON: Mano Menezes accepted, in the wake of Brazil’s Olympic final defeat by Mexico, that his status as national coach will come under scrutiny as never before after his squad’s return to Rio de Janeiro writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Brazil have never won Olympic gold and the failure was so important that Menezes put his own reputation and status on the line rather than entrust the team’s management to an assistant.
Brazilian confederation president Jose Marin had warned, months ago, that Brazil had no other option but to win at London 2012 but finding a replacement might be a more awkard option.
To make matters even more painful for Brazil, they do not go straight home. Neymar and Co must travel on to Stockholm to play Sweden in a friendly match which will shut down for development the old Solna stadium in which the Brazilians won their first World Cup back in 1958.
Playing that game is the last thing they want to do in their silver state of mind.
As a doleful-looking Menezes said: “You can see by the look on my face what my feelings are. I am very sad at not having been able to win. We did excellent work throughout the tournament and thought we had a good chance of the gold but this was not to be.
“We conceded a bad goal after only 30 seconds which forced us to change our strategy as everyone saw because we had to make a change after 30 minutes to try to become more positive.
“By that time Mexico had tightened up defence and, despite our greater focus on attack and the chances we created, we could not turn it around although we had a full 89 minutes in which to do so. We should have been able to do better but we came up short.”
Brazil had come from behind in two of their previous five games but this time the task had proved beyond them because “our opponents were so extremely well prepared.”
Menezes said that the atmosphere in the dressing room was as if a “dark cloud” were hovering overhead and “we would like to do away with this appointment in Sweden.”
Looking on towards Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup, Menezes thought the players would gain in terms of maturity from the experience of such a painful defeat and 70pc of them would probably be in the team in two years’ time.
As for whether he will be there, Menezes said: “We all have to accept the conseqences of any result. When you win very little importance is attached to the role of a coach . . . when you lose it’s very different.”
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