| Parreira has decided to give Ronaldo a well-deserved rest, after almost two years of non-stop football
Rio de Janeiro: Brazil’s performance at the Confederations Cup two years ago cost coach Emerson Leao his job as goalless draws against Japan and Canada were followed by a humiliating defeat to Australia in the third-place play-off.
Leao, who was forced by club commitments to take a makeshift team to the tournament, had been assured by federation chiefs beforehand that the mitigating circumstances would be taken into account when his performance was judged.
In the event, he was unceremoniously sacked at Tokyo airport as the team waited to board the plane for the 24-hour journey back to Brazil.
Ominously, Carlos Alberto Parreira finds himself in a similarly uncomfortable position going into the Confederations Cup next week and has already received the dreaded vote of confidence.
“I want to make it clear from the start that I’m not demanding results,” said Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ricardo Teixeira. “I know that the team staff had difficulty in picking the 23 players and there was a great concern in not disrespecting the clubs.”
The Confederations Cup will take place in France from next Wednesday with the Brazilian championship in full swing and Parreira has carefully selected his squad to avoid seriously depleting some of the clubs.
The coach has also decided that players such as Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Gilberto Silva need a rest after two years of almost non-stop football.
Furthermore, he has been unable to call on Santos trio Renato, Robinho and Diego, who are considered three of Brazil’s most promising young players, as their club are still in the South American Libertadores Cup.
The result is a squad which includes 11 uncapped players, plus a few others who critics say have been picked at a moment when their club form does not merit a call-up.
Parreira, who is in his third stint in arguably soccer’s hottest seat, has tried to look on the bright side, nonetheless.
“This team may lack experience but it’s technically strong,” he said. “We’re not going just to fulfill the fixture list.”
Brazil warmed up for the tournament by taking their team to Nigeria for a friendly on Wednesday.
The result was promising as strikers Gil and Luis Fabiano both scored on their debuts to give Brazil an easy 3-0 win over the Super Eagles, even though they had completed the 20-hour journey from South America less than 48 hours earlier and had held only one practice session.
“Only Brazil can travel for 20 hours, put together a team and beat a strong team like Nigeria,” said a delighted Parreira.
It was their first win since Parreira took over in January.