Thursday, September 13, 2007

Luiz Felipe Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari, ComIH (born November 9, 1948 in Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), also known as Felipão ("Big Phil"), is a Brazilian football coach, who led the Brazilian national team to victory in the 2002 World Cup. He has been the head coach of the Portuguese national team since 2003.
Portugal national team
Portugal, as organizer of Euro 2004, did not have to qualify, and played only friendlies on the run up to the tournament. Apart from a victory against Brazil, the results were mostly disappointing: the team selected by Scolari showed itself incapable of beating any of the Euro 2004 finalists.

The opening game of Euro 2004 was a 1-2 defeat against Greece at the Estádio do Dragão; for the next game against Russia, Scolari ditched the team he had been building for the previous two years in favour of a team based on José Mourinho's FC Porto, which had the previous month won the UEFA Champions League, replacing six players. The changes proved successful, and Scolari became the first foreign coach ever to lead any team to the final of that event. He was joined the following day by Otto Rehhagel, the German coach of Greece. Greece eventually did a Maracanazo and won the tournament.

During the spring of 2006, Scolari was one of a number of coaches in talks with the English FA over the possibility of replacing Sven-Göran Eriksson as England coach. However, Scolari eventually withdrew his name from the appointment procedure, later explaining that his empathy with the Portuguese players would be spoiled if he had another deal signed beforehand. On the eve of Portugal's 2006 World Cup quarter final meeting with England, Scolari apologised to the Football Association for claiming that he had turned down the England job. Scolari subsequently led Portugal to eliminate England in the quarter-finals (the third time a team under his guidance had knocked England out of a major championship; although Portugal were ultimately defeated by France in the semi-finals).

After the 2006 World Cup finished, Scolari signed a new two year contract with the Portuguese Football Federation which therefore will in principle last until the end of Euro 2008, in Austria and Switzerland.

On 26 December 2006 Scolari told the Portuguese sports newspaper Record that he would be ending his term as coach of Portugal after Euro 2008: ""It is logical that at the end of Euro 2008 I leave when my contract ends. The work of a coach is limited to five or six years. We are already in this time frame but after that, things become more difficult because they create habits and links with the players, which can result in things deteriorating."
Scolari is famous for his temper and for his histrionic "performance" by the field while the match is going on, reacting strongly to both the best and the worst moments of his team. A good example of his fierce temper was a September 12, 2007 qualifying match for Euro 2008 against Serbia when, at the end of the game, and after the referee had blown the whistle for a 1-1 draw, Scolari grazed Serbian player Ivica Dragutinovic in the face with a left hook. hereHis strong character has earned him a controversial reputation of encouraging a violent behaviour on the part of the players (though he is more often quoted scolding referees for not stopping violence) and in his early years in Brazil he was often sent off for excessively complaining with the referees. His character, however, is often seen as a good point, instead of a drawback, because he tries to keep the players (and himself) free of external pressures: he usually demands a lot more of freedom than most coaches are allowed and is bent on exerting a somewhat discretionary power. Some critics mostly agree that his unique character was very beneficial to the Portuguese national team, which had a tradition of talented players but never won anything because of excessive intervention from the federation, the clubs and the player's agents, as well as a lack of a true "team spirit". Others point that Scolari's insistence in using the same players over and over, regardless of current form, ends up being prejudicial for the team.

In the 2002 FIFA World Cup he gave each of his players a copy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War, a Chinese military treatise written during the 6th century BC. In the recent 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany he used the book to plan his team's win against England.
Scolari also holds Italian citizenship, since his family emigrated from Veneto. He is a hardcore fan of the Brazilian club Grêmio and said to be a fan of Nottingham Forest.

-Brazilian clubs & Brazil national team;

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