Scolari's recipe for success
Luiz Felipe Scolari (AFP)
Teresopolis - Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari hopes a repeat of his 2002 formula of motivation and music can help the team to another Soccer World Cup triumph this summer.
While it is true that there are some changes in the tactical system, for the 2014 World Cup the Brazilian head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari aims to repeat the "magical formula" of motivation and music which he adopted with such success when Brazil won their 'pentacampeonato' at Japan/South Korea 2002.
At Scolari's 'bunker' in Teresopolis, two nights a week are dedicated to motivational conferences and - as in 2002 - the players have already chosen a 'hymn' to guide them to the country's sixth world title.
The song is 'Ta Escrito' ('Already Written') by samba group Revelacao, and according to right-back Dani Alves: "The lyrics are very good, you should get to know it," he said.
This fast song expresses the confidence in their destiny as winners, with phrases such as "it is God which points us to the shining star" or "nobody can stop those who were born to win."
The lyrics encourage the players to have confidence and to avoid sadness, even in difficult moments.
This song is very similar to the one chosen by the players who triumphed in 2002: 'Que la vida me conduzca' ('Let Life Guide Me') by Zeca Pagodinho.
The 'Scolari Family', as the squad is known, also believes in the power of motivational phrases to push the group towards the title.
For example, on Monday night a Brazilian expert Carlos Alberto Julio was invited to demonstrate to the players that "individual talent is only bettered by collective talent", according to Rodrigo Paiva, the spokesman for the Brazilian football federation.
In Scolari's view, last week's guest speaker, former coach Rubens Minelli, transmitted to the players the most important motivational message of all.
"He said there would be 30 days of sacrifice but then, if we are champions, we will enjoy that for 1,430 days, until the next World Cup."
The motivational strategy is the same as in 2002, when 'Felipao' - as Scolari is affectionately known - placed phrases taken from 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu in the rooms of his players.
Thanks to this - or maybe in spite of this - Scolari's team managed to overcome the scepticism that surrounded Brazil before the tournament in Japan and South Korea - and eventually beat Germany 2-0 in the final in Yokohama.
On July 13, when the final is played in the legendary Maracana stadium, it will be clear if Scolari's "magical formula" has been successful or not.