After a second consecutive World Cup disaster – with Dunga and Felipe Melo being blamed – the Brazilian FA (CBF) decided the national team needed to undergo complete renewal, from board members right the way down to the playing staff. They have bet on faces in Brazil, playing in the Brasileirão and are ready to work towards the 2014 tournament on home soil. The identity of the new coach was supposed to be revealed last Friday, the 23rd July, and that individual would choose the players who would face the USA in New Jersey on 10th August.

Last Friday, Ricardo Teixeira, the president of the CBF, announced that Muricy Ramalho would be invited to become the new coach of the Seleção. All that was needed was for the 54-year-old to negotiate his release from Fluminense – a deal seemed close. However, late that same day Ramalho dramatically turned down the job, going on a few days later to explain that he comes from "a time when you had to honour your contracts". Noble though Ramalho’s words were it was clear that Fluminense did not want to let their coach go, to the Seleção or anywhere else. Having been turned down by Ramalho, Teixeira wasted little time in announcing Luiz Antonio "Mano" Venker de Menezes was the CBF’s new first choice.

The domestic media was at once curious as to how Mano Menezes would react to clearly being the CBF’s second choice. Menezes could take some heart however from the fact that the preceeding week, his was the name on the media’s lips as the most likely to end up as the Seleção’s new boss. Despite being confused by the turn of events according to some sources, Menezes wasted little time in saying yes. He just had one more thing to attend to, coaching Corinthians on the Sunday and going on to leave the team leading the Brasileirão, one point ahead of Muricy Ramalho’s Fluminense.

Is Mano Menezes the right choice to lead the Seleção? The 48-year-old began to make a name for himself in the Brazilian game by leading a small side called 15 de Novembro-RS through to the Copa do Brasil semi-finals in 2004. Despite losing out on a place in the final to Santo Andre, 15 Novembro finished third and Menezes was soon on his way to a bigger club, also from the southern part of the country – Caxias. Just one year after that he signed with Gremio, and Menezes had well and truly arrived.

The coach led Gremio to back the Brasileirão Serie A, bagging the Serie B title in the process after a memorable meeting with Nautico. In 2005, Menezes won the Rio Grande do Sul state championship against Gremio’s major rivals Internacional, something they had failed to do since 2001. The good work continued with a fine run in the Copa Libertadores. Sao Paulo were dispatched in the last 16, Santos in the semi-final, before the club lost out to Boca Juniors in the final. In that same year though Menezes led Gremio to their second consecutive state title.

At the end of 2007 Menezes joined Corinthians, identified as the man capable of leading the club back to Serie A. And the former 15 de Novembro boss seemed to turn back the clock and deliver exactly what the Timao wanted. In 2008 Corinthians won the Serie B title, having lost just three matches, and reached the final of the Copa do Brazil – which they lost. The next year saw Menezes guide the club to the Sao Paulo state championship and to go one better in the Copa do Brasil, beating Santos and Internacional along the way. The cup win saw Menezes back in the Copa Libertadores in 2010, ironically Corinthians’ centenary year. Unfortunately however, Menezes and his side could not defeat Flamengo in the last 16, despite having recorded the best record in the tournament’s group stage.

There are those who would label Menezes as a coach with a defensive mindset because of the way he set his teams up at 15 de Novembro and Gremio. This year Corinthians have not excelled and Menezes has taken much criticism for that. But 2009’s Cortinhians played the kind of game that all Brazilians would love to see return to the Seleção; with two attacking full backs, two defensive midfielders – one capable of marking but also passing well and the other fast and skilful – an above average attacking midfielder, and three forwards, with Ronaldo playing in the middle. Menezes’ Corinthians side were good to watch and it was no fluke that they won the Copa do Brasil and their state title. The CBF hope Menezes will bring Corinthians’ 2009 attacking flair to the Seleção.

The new coach’s first squad, to face the United States on 8th August, was announced on Monday and Menezes ensured a large number of home-based players were selected. One of the 24 will miss out, either Sandro or Hernanes, as their club sides, Internacional and Sao Paulo respectively, will face each other in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals. The side which marches on will determine just which of the two drop out. Brazil’s new boss also pointed out that seven of those he has chosen will be eligible to compete at the London Olympic Games in 2012, and while this might seem trivial, for Brazilians this is important because the gold medal is the only height they have not yet reached.

Menezes faces a tough job that should last right through until 2014 when Brazil host the World Cup. Optimism is high that Mano Menezes is the right choice for the Seleção, and if the former Corinthians coach can once again have Brazil playing like Brazil, with style and swagger, the CBF could find out that their second choice should have been their first.

Brazil’s squad to face the USA on 8th August:

Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Renan (Avai), Victor (Grêmio).

Full-backs: André Santos (Fenerbahçe), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Rafael (Manchester United).

Defenders: David Luiz (Benfica), Henrique (Racing Santander), Réver (Atlético-MG), Thiago Silva (AC Milan).

Defensive midfielders: Hernanes (São Paulo), Jucilei (Corinthians), Lucas (Liverpool), Ramires (Benfica), Sandro (Internacional).

Attackig midfielders: Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim), Ederson (Lyon), Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos).

Forwards: Alexandre Pato (Milan), André (Santos), Diego Tardelli (Atlético-MG), Neymar (Santos), Robinho (Santos).