It appeared yesterday afternoon that Muricy Ramalho would be taking control of the seleção, but a sensational series of events late in the day have meant that Corinthians boss Mano Menezes is the new man in the hotseat.
Ramalho met with the CBF in the morning, and was offered the job, pending permission from his club Fluminense to take up the role. It was widely thought that this would be no more than a formality, so there was some shock when Ramalho announced that he would not, in fact, take up the position of Brazil coach. The decision is thought to be motivated in part by the CBF's refusal to guarantee that Ramalho's reign would last until the 2014 World Cup, even if results were favourable.
It initially appeared that the Fluminense had decided to play hard-ball; declining to allow Ramalho to break his contract with the club. This theory, however, was undermined when the Rio club announced that Ramalho had actually penned a two-year extention to his deal; hardly the logical response if the Tricolor had snatched away his dream.
The CBF reacted to the news by offering the role to Mano Menezes, the coach of São Paulo giants Corinthians. At a press conference this afternoon, the 48 year-old confirmed that he had accepted the proposition. Menezes guided the Timão to promotion to Série A in 2008, before winning the 2009 Copa do Brasil. Despite the disappointment of a sluggish Libertadores campaign this term, Corinthians currently sit second in the league. Menezes will take charge of the club for the last time against Guarani on Sunday, in what will likely be an emotional farewell at the Pacaembu.
Menezes' reputation was forged during his time with Grêmio, whom he led from the second tier all the way to the final of the Libertadores within two years. Despite a fondness for playing 4-3-3, Menezes' approach is only slightly more attacking than Ramalho's; defensive solidity is still the name of the game here. Menezes is, however, known for his no-nonsense attitude, even towards the most illustrious of his players. This meritocratic streak could be advantageous, given the need for an overhaul of the seleção in the wake of their poor World Cup campaign.