Scolari Overcomes Mistrust And Brings Brazilian Championship To Palmeiras

Hired in midseason, the former Brazil squad coach turned the São Paulo team into a winning machine

São Paulo
Palmeiras coach Luiz Felipe Scolari during the Brazilian Championship final against Vasco da Gama - REUTERS

When Palmeiras hired coach Luiz Felipe Scolari back in July, football fans regard the football club's move with mistrust. But now Scolari is considered the most significant symbol of the club's turnaround during the Brazilian Football Championship, which culminated with winning the title. 

When Scolari began in the job, the team was a minor player in the contest, in seventh place and eight points behind the then-leader Flamengo.

Coach Roger Machado was fired, and Scolari hired to replace him. The players reacted very positively. The squad won 22 games in a row, the longest winning streak in the history of the championship, becoming the 2018 Brazilian football champion.

Hiring Scolari, who coached the Brazil team that won the 2002 FIFA World Cup, was a bet on the coach's skill in training teams for tournaments based on elimination rounds. At the time, Palmeiras hoped to save the season by winning either the Brazil Cup or the CONMEBOL Libertadores.

With so many games in three different tournaments, Scolari practically set up two teams, one for the Brazilian Championship and another for the other two. The club didn't fare well in the latter two.
Scolari centered efforts in the Brazilian Championship and making the players train as each game was the final.

The Palmeiras title also helped Scolari clear his reputation as an outdated coach that has followed him in the last few years, especially after the tragic 7x1Brazil loss against Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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Alberto Nogueira , Luiz Cosenzo and Rafaela Cardoso