RIO DE JANEIRO - Fallen Brazil must regain
their prominent role in world football, their 2014 World Cup coach
Mano Menezes said on Tuesday.
"We're sure our prominence will return and we're working
towards that. We must take on that role in world football,"
Menezes told reporters.
Brazil won a record fifth title at the 2002 World Cup finals
in Japan and South Korea, but have since fallen off their perch
with elimination at the quarter-final stage in the last two
The South American power's image has also lost its sheen
along with marquee players' struggles in Europe, including the
likes of Adriano for disciplinary reasons, Ronaldinho through
loss of form and Kaka owing to injuries.
Menezes said world champions Spain were now the benchmark.
"The next reference is always the (World Cup) winners and
that's Spain today. Brazil used to be the prominent team and
we're trying to regain that reference," Menezes said at the
presentation of new national team sponsors.
Former World Cup coach Dunga's team, beaten in the 2010
quarter-finals by Netherlands, were criticised for being too
cautious and Menezes is looking to recover their attacking
Menezes, building towards the 2014 World Cup finals through
the 2012 Olympic football tournament, has turned his attention
towards young, home-based players like Santos pair Neymar and
Paulo Henrique Ganso and Lucas of Sao Paulo.
Neymar, 19, will miss the under-20 World Cup in Colombia
starting in July as Menezes looks to include him in his senior
squad for the June 1-24 Copa America in Argentina.
"The priority is the senior team. There is a possibility of
using him in the senior team and not taking him to the under-20
World Cup, because it would (mean) taking him away from (his
club) Santos for a very long spell and we have to be sensitive,"
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