Scolari shrugs off Brazil critics after joining Palmeiras

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SAO PAULO (AP) Former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said Friday that critics would not bother him on his return home to work at Sao Paulo-based giants Palmeiras.

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Despite leading Brazil to a World Cup title in 2002, `Big Phil’ took a lot of the blame for the team’s humiliating 7-1 defeat against Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinals.

“7-1, 0-0, 5-5, it does not upset me in any way,” Scolari told a press conference on Friday.

“The last time Brazil won the World Cup was in 2002 and I was with that team. The last to be defeated in the World Cup was not me. That is over,” the 69-year-old coach said.

His friend-turned-foe Tite was at the helm for last month’s World Cup quarterfinal elimination against Belgium.

Asked if he still thinks of the 2014 semifinal, Scolari replied: “It is over, that’s finished. I didn’t lose alone in 2014, I didn’t win alone in 2002. We won and we lost.

“Life goes on. Who of us does not have a day that goes wrong, that changes the way you think about life?”

After the 7-1 debacle, Scolari spent a few months at Gremio and then left Brazil, promising not to come back any time soon. Last year he repeated that pledge in several interviews.

Despite his excitement to be back home, Scolari was not done talking about the 2014 semifinal.

“One negative result does not hide 99 positive ones,” he said. “Life shows me I can have a bad result and get stronger to do my job.”

`Big Phil’ said he had three offers from national teams, but chose to begin a third spell at Palmeiras, a club he has coached for more than 400 games.

Scolari’s last job ended in 2017 at China’s Guangzhou Evergrande, where he won seven trophies.

His contract at Palmeiras runs until 2020. He replaces his former player Roger Machado, who was fired as coach after the team lost 1-0 at Fluminense in the 15th round of the Brazilian championship.

Despite huge investment, Palmeiras is sixth in the championship after 16 games, eight points behind leader Flamengo.