Brazil coach Menezes sacked ahead of 2014 World Cup

    Mano Menezes has been relieved of his duties by the Brazilian Football Association ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

    Story highlights

    • Brazil has fired coach Mano Menezes with immediate effect
    • Menezes has been under fire since Olympics failure
    • South American country is set to host World Cup in 2014
    • Brazil will appoint new coach in January according to officials
    Just under two years before hosting the World Cup, Brazil sacked coach Mano Menezes as the South American country signaled a change of direction in its quest for unprecedented sixth title.
    Menezes had hoped to lead Brazil to victory on home soil but his failure to win over his critics with his muscular type of play appears to have cost him.
    The 50-year-old, who replaced the legendary Dunga following the 2010 World Cup, had come under heavy scrutiny following his side's failure to win a historic first Olympic gold at London 2012 -- losing in the final to Mexico despite fielding a star-studded line-up.
    The news was greeted with joy by former Brazil striker and World Cup winner Romario,.
    "Today is a historic day, Brazil needs to celebrate,'' Romario said on his Facebook page. "Finally the federation did something good for Brazilian football. It took a while to happen, but it did.''
    Brazil also failed to deliver at the 2011 Copa America, bowing out at the quarterfinal stage.
    "As it has been announced, I'm not the national coach anymore," Menezes wrote on Twitter.
    "My thanks to all the people who worked with me on this project, specially the players that were called up during this period and all those who believed in our work."
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    Menezes was often criticized for his side's style of play with fans yearning to a return to the "joga bonito" ('beautiful game") style for which Brazil teams are so well known.
    Whereas past sides, most notably that of 1970, were known for their flair and skill, Menezes' side was more functional than entertaining.
    Although his team won six of its eight matches since the Olympics, with 26 goals coming in the process, Menezes struggled to justify his switch away from the freeflowing, samba-style football associated with Brazil.
    But the decision came as a surprise with Brazil slowly beginning to look more impressive with several key players returning to form.
    The attacking trio of Oscar, Neymar and Hulk provided a real threat, while Ramires and Paulinho had recently shone in the center of midfield.
    The form of Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva and the return to the side of Real Madrid's Kaka had looked to have given Brazil a new found lease of life.
    But after a difficult reign, Menezes was relieved of his duties following talks with CBF president Jose Maria Marin.
    "I gave him the news myself," Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) national squad director Andres Sanches told reporters.
    "Nobody likes to receive news of these kind of things in any circumstances, but everyone in football knows that these things happen.
    "A new coach will be announced in January."
    New man
    Former Palmeiras manager Luis Felipe Scolari, who led Brazil to World Cup glory back in 2002, is the current favorite with Corinthians coach Tite and Santos boss Muricy Ramalho also in contention.
    Brazil will host the Confederations Cup in six months' time before taking center stage for the World Cup a year later.
    The new manager's first game in charge will be against England at Wembley on February 6.