World Cup hosts Brazil fire national team coach

Mano Menezes

Brazil fired their national soccer team coach on Friday, looking to breathe some life into a lacklustre squad as the football-crazy nation gears up to host the 2014 World Cup.

Mano Menezes was dismissed because the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) wants a fresh start, Andres Sanchez, the CBF's National Teams Director, said at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

I don't think it was for negative results, if that was the case he could have been fired last year, said Sanchez. It was that the president wants to change the way things are done.

A new coach will be chosen in early January, Sanchez added.

Menezes had been in charge since replacing Dunga shortly after Brazil's early exit from the 2010 World Cup and was criticised for their failure to beat rivals like Netherlands and Germany and for what many fans saw as a defensive style.

Brazil is preparing to host the World Cup for the first time since 1950 and is desperate to lift the trophy on home soil. It is the only country to appear in every World Cup finals and the only nation to win it five times.

In 40 games, Menezes's side won 27, lost seven and drew six, according to his official website (www.manomenezes.com.br).

But with Brazil qualifying automatically as hosts for the next World Cup, most of these games were friendlies, often against weak opponents such as China and Iraq.

Under Menezes, Brazil struggled against soccer powers such as Germany, Netherlands, and world and European champions Spain.

Menezes also failed to guide his side to victory in last year's Copa America and in the Olympics, when his under-23 team surrendered meekly to Mexico in the final in London.

Although he brought a quiet elegance to the team set up off the field, the former Corinthians boss was not universally popular and was even booed by his own fans in recent months.

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