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‘Want to banish ghosts of 1950’

Luiz Felipe Scolari

Florianopolis: Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says he wants Brazil to banish the ghosts of 1950, when his country last hosted the World Cup and lost the final in a defeat that has haunted them ever since.

Scolari explained to reporters at a Fifa pre-World Cup workshop on Wednesday that his view was different to that held by most Brazilians.

He wants the 1950 team, beaten by Uruguay in front of a 200,000 crowd at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium, to be celebrated rather than vilified. As Brazil prepares to host this year’s World Cup, Scolari said: “I wish to underscore my vision of 1950 is entirely different to what most people think.

“Before 1950, Brazil had never reached the finalů They were the pioneers of the five titles we have won since then. Those players got there and made Brazilian history.

“We built our success on top of them. We are going to try and get back to the Maracana for the final and properly remember the team of the 50s because they were wonderful and fantastic and that’s how I’d like Brazilians to think about them.”

The final defeat, which became known to Brazilians as the ‘Maracanazo’ still rankles among fans even though the team have gone on to win a record five World Cups since.

For decades, players from the 1950 squad had a finger of blame pointed at them and most never quite recovered from the experience.

“We will be playing with 12 players on the pitch,” Scolari said of Brazil’s chances this June and July. “Some people call me populist but, for goodness sake, I’m playing with the support of my own people.

“We have to think big, that we are good, that we have quality. Otherwise what am I as the coach doing?

“We want to be champions, we are going to play to win.”

Scolari, meanwhile, refused to rule out striker Adriano’s chances of playing in the World Cup.

Adriano, who has not represented the national team since 2010, played his first match for nearly two years last week with a late appearance as a substitute for Atletico Paranaense in their 1-0 victory over The Strongest in the Copa Libertadores.

“I consider every Brazilian player. Some more and others less. There are some that haven’t played for some years. I am looking at everything. But I have to make my observations in accordance with a series of factors, not just one.”

Scolari’s comments follow claims by press that the 65-year-old sought Atletico Paranaense’s football director Antonio Lopes to discuss Adriano’s fitness.

He, however, didn’t sound interested in Kaka, who put up a decent performance for AC Milan in the Champions League match against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. Scolari suggested that the midfielder had not done enough defensive work against the Russians.