Fernando Diniz will oversee the World Cup qualification and prepare the national team for Copa America.
In the summer of 2024, Carlo Ancelotti will take charge of the Brazilian national team. His candidacy was discussed immediately after the five-time champions' elimination from the 2022 World Cup. However, it seemed impossible at that time. After all, in the summer of 2022, the Italian stated that he had no plans to work anywhere other than Real Madrid and would retire once his contract ended.
The Brazilians presented convincing arguments and persuaded Ancelotti to lead the national team after his contract expired in the summer of 2024. The season in Spain will conclude at the end of May. Real Madrid could be in early June if it reaches the Champions League final. This means that Carlo will start working with Brazil just before the upcoming official tournament, the Copa America, which will begin on June 20 in the United States.
In the meantime, Fernando Diniz has been appointed as the interim coach. He is 49 years old and previously only led clubs.
Diniz is considered Neymar's choice in Brazil, despite Neymar not currently playing for the national team
Some context first: Tite left the national team immediately after their loss to Croatia. He was heavily criticized for the team's performance in Qatar, as they were eliminated in the quarterfinals. The Brazilian federation needed a more straightforward decision, so they temporarily appointed Ramon Menezes from the U20 team. He coached three friendly matches, but it was clear that it would be a short-term arrangement.
They wanted Ancelotti to start as early as the summer of 2023, but he declined to terminate his contract with Real Madrid prematurely. Therefore, they began searching for someone with similar playing ideas. According to ESPN, the federation president, Ednaldo Rodrigues, met with the team leaders - Alisson, Casemiro, and Marquinhos - before the recent friendly matches and asked for their opinions. They unanimously voted in favor of Diniz. It is claimed that Neymar had long lobbied for Diniz, who still significantly influences the national team players, despite not playing for the national team since late 2022. It was at his request that the current leaders pointed to Diniz.
Here's what Neymar wrote about him on social media in the summer of 2022: "I like Diniz. It's a shame that he receives very little attention in Brazil."
President of the Brazilian Football Federation Eduardo Rodriguez: "The philosophy hasn't changed; it has always been the same method. I like how he progresses tactically. The most important thing is that his style resembles Carlo Ancelotti's. They have almost the same mindset. This is a crucial point."
Interestingly, 49-year-old Diniz will juggle his role with Fluminense, which he has been leading since 2022, along with coaching the national team. Since 2009, he has changed jobs 17(!) times, although he returned to some clubs multiple times. He has managed prestigious clubs such as Atletico Paranaense, Santos, Vasco da Gama, and Sao Paulo. He has won the Sao Paulo state cup twice and the Rio de Janeiro state championship once.
Which matches will Diniz oversee?
He will lead the national team for eight games: six in the World Cup qualification and two friendlies. He has already been offered a position in Ancelotti's staff in 2024, and the opportunity to Diniz will start working with the national team in September, with the first World Cup qualifier against Bolivia. Immediately after, they will play against Peru. Before the summer of 2024, they will also have matches against Venezuela, Uruguay, Colombia, and Argentina. Additionally, two friendly matches in Europe are scheduled before the start of the Copa America. One of the opponents will be Spain, while the other is yet to be determined.
The coach has little chance of ruining anything or making Ancelotti's task of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup more difficult. Out of ten teams in the qualification, six will advance to the final stage, while the seventh will have a chance to qualify through play-offs. It isn't easy to imagine Brazil in such a position.