Vicente Feola: The big man who bosses Brazil

Tuesday, April 23 – 1963
Vicente Feola, the man who master-minded Brazil’s hold on world football, today dismissed the world champions’ defeat by Portugal yesterday and insisted: –

The only thing worth winning in the whole of football is the World Cup.

Feola, a huge, paunchy, coaching genius, says with the clinical detachment of a man who is destroying the master-team he built in order to win world fame again: –

If we had been picking a Brazilian team to win on our European tour we would have brought the World Cup team. And we would have won every match.

But what good would that do us? We could not play the team which won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 in the next Championship in England in 1966. Most of the players would be too old.

And what is the use of prestige gained by winning 10 matches in Europe now and losing when we come to England in 1966?

“We do not want to win what are, really, only practice matches at the expense of the world championship. I do not mean that we shall not try to win. But this is a period of rebuilding when we do not know which is our best available team.

“So we experiment – with 23 of the best players in Brazil. Some are great players of the past and many great players of the future.

“That is where England’s planning is wrong. You plan to win each match because of prestige.

“But which nation gets the most prestige? The one which wins at Wembley this year, or the one which wins the World Cup there in three years’ time?

“I promise you we shall try to win both.

“I guarantee that Pele will play at Wembley next month unless he is injured. We would be deceiving the public who have paid so much to watch him if he did not play.

“Pele, of course, is still one of our young men despite his tremendous experience. And will be one of the mainstays of our team for the next World Cup.

“But England too should be playing the young men, giving them experience, no matter what the result.

“That would probably be unpopular in some quarters. In Brazil we, the men who have selected our team, are very unpopular with the public.

“They wanted us to bring the old guard on tour.

But they will not be critical in 1966 when our refusal to listen to their demands has made Brazil world champions again.

We pick men who will be best for the international team, not individual stars. If we thought even Pele was not a team man, we would not play him.

The reason for the success of Brazil is the tremendous international experience our players have.

We often have as many as 20 clubs touring abroad. It gives the players experience of every type of football. So by the time they are being considered by Brazil they cannot be taken by surprise.

It is only by constant interchange at every level that football can be learned. England needs to learn now from the nations she taught.

How? Well, one way might be to employ foreign coaches. No other country is ashamed to do that.
(Daily Express, 23-04-1963)

Vicente Feola, image found here.
Vicente Feola

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