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Parreira back at Brazil helm

Rio de Janeiro: Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to their fourth World Cup title in 1994, was named coach of the world champions for the third time on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old, who also coached Kuwait at the 1982 World Cup and Saudi Arabia at France ’98, will replace Luiz Felipe Scolari, who steered Brazil to their fifth world title at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, the Brazilian football confederation said.

Brazil had been without a long-term coach since the departure of ‘Big Phil’, who resigned in August is now coach of the Portuguese national side. Parreira’s first match in charge will be a friendly away to China on February 12.

His main target will be to make sure Brazil qualify for the 2006 tournament in Germany and keep up their proud record as the only country to have played at every World Cup.

Under Fifa’s new rules, the reigning champions no longer gain automatic qualification to the next competition and the South American qualifying competition is due to start in August.

Brazil have often found the qualifying tournament more difficult than the finals themselves.

Parreira, who never played football professionally, first coached Brazil in 1984 but resigned after a disappointing run of results.

He was re-appointed in 1991 and, despite much criticism about his team’s allegedly lacklustre style of play, led his side to victory at the World Cup in the US three years later.

He resigned afterwards, complaining of the pressures involved in the job.

Parreira once again showed his credentials last year as he led a modest Corinthians team to the brink of a domestic treble.

His side won the Rio-Sao Paulo tournament and Copa Brasil in the first half of the year and was beaten by Santos in the final of the Brazilian championship in December.

Parreira’s departure is a blow for Corinthians, who in February begin their attempt to win the South American Libertadores Cup for the first time.

Brazil have played two games since the last World Cup. They lost 0-1 at home to Paraguay in August, with Scolari still at the helm, and beat South Korea 3-2 in Seoul in November, when veteran coach Mario Zagallo was called out of retirement as a “tribute”.

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