Sunday 25 February 2018

Brazil's preparations in confusion after Luiz Felipe Scolari's nephew dies in car crash

Luiz Felipe Scolari will be coaching Brazil at the World Cup
Luiz Felipe Scolari will be coaching Brazil at the World Cup

Jason Burt

Brazil’s preparations for Thursday’s World Cup opening match with Croatia were thrown into confusion after Luiz Felipe Scolari was left considering whether to break off from the nation’s training camp following the death of his nephew in a car crash.

Scolari took charge of Brazil's training session on Tuesday afternoon. Before the session, some players hugged and talked to him briefly, including midfielder Oscar, defender David Luiz and striker Fred.

The Brazilian federation said in a statement that Scolari was told about Schneider's death less than 20 minutes before the session. It said the coach was "devastated" with the news, "but he had a duty and he acted with the professionalism already expected from him," the statement said.

It is unclear to what extent Scolari will be involved with his players ahead of the game although he is expected to meet up with the squad at tome stage on Wednesday. The coach is due to give a press conference before the players take part in a final training session.

Schneider, a 48-year-old businessman, was one of the sons of Scolari’s sister Cleusa and, according to the Brazilian Federal Highway Police, was killed when his car was involved in a head-on crash with a lorry in Passo Fundo, Scolari’s hometown, a city north of the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Schneider, a father of three who owned a network of garages, was alone in the car which was shunted off the road. The lorry driver was not injured.

Schneider was also the brother of Darlan Schneider, who Scolari used as a fitness coach during his time in charge of Chelsea and as coach to Portugal.

The death is the second family tragedy to affect Scolari since he announced his squad for the World Cup last month. He had to leave the camp at the end of May, as the squad started their training, to attend the funeral of his brother-in-law, Cleonice, after he died from cancer.

The tragedies will add to the emotional toll on Scolari who is leading Brazil into a World Cup finals for the second time, having won the trophy in 2002, but for the first time on home soil. Scolari, or Felipao as he is known in Brazil, is under enormous pressure to succeed but there will be a significant outpouring of support for him. A date for the funeral has yet to be set but will clearly take place during the World Cup.

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