RIO DE JANEIRO: Should Brazil, in London, fail to win Olympic football gold for the first time then Mano Menezes can probably wave goodbye to the prospect of leading the hosts in the 2014 World Cup on home soil.
That was the essence of comments by new Brazilian confederation president Jose Maria Marin to a tourism and sport commission.
Marin, who took over from disgraced Ricardo Teixeira earlier this year, said: “Our responsibility is to ensure that the Brazilian national team has the best possible chance of fulfilling the people’s wishes in 2014. This is our great dream, that the sadness of 1950 [when hosts Brazil lost in the final to Uruguay] should be transformed into great happiness.
“First, we have the Olympic Games in London and then the Confederations Cup and what happens at the Olympics will tell us whether or not we are on the right road.”
Brazil’s men were Olympic runners-up in 1984 and 1988 and third in 1996 and 2008 when they lost in the Beijing semi-finals to ultimate gold-medal-winners Argentina.
Carlos Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, met Marin earlier to discuss London since the Brazilian women’s team have never won gold either.
Coach Menezes plans on taking a strong men’s team to London, headed by Santos’ South American Footballer of the Year Neymar for a tournament which is played with under-23 squads with the option of three over-age players.
Menezes named a 52-player preliminary squad in March and included Ronaldinho as one of the players over 23. Others were Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Milan defender Thiago Silva, Barcelona right back Daniel Alves, Chelsea defender David Luiz and Porto striker Hulk. Milan’s Robinho and Real Madrid’s Kaka were left out.
The squad will be trimmed to 35 players on June 8 with the final 18-man squad to be announced on July 6.
Brazil will face Denmark in a friendly in Germany next month, but it’s unlikely Menezes will select a squad solely with Olympic-age players. He is expected to test his Olympic team when Brazil tours the United States to play the U.S. on May 30, Mexico on June 3 and Argentina on June 9.
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