The CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) confirmed what had been speculated in recent days and announced, this Wednesday (30), the dismissal of Pia Sundhage, 63, from the women’s national team. The Swede had a contract for another year, until the Paris Olympics, but the poor performance in the World Cup precipitated a reformulation.
Brazil arrived at the contest in Australia with the expectation of a long-lasting campaign, fueled by good results in the preparation period. But there was only one victory, in the debut, a 4-0 over Panama. Following this, a 2-1 defeat to France and a 0-0 draw with Jamaica ended the campaign in the first phase.
The green-and-yellow team had not made it to the group stage of the World Cup since 1995, and the result was not well digested by the president of the CBF, Ednaldo Rodrigues. He stated after the tournament that he would take the situation “in stride” and eventually came to the conclusion that changes were needed to the structure.
“As of today, we are ending Pia’s work with the CBF,” said Ednaldo, in a statement released by the entity. “Pia also brought, in the period from 2019 until now, a job that, for the CBF and for Brazilian football as a whole, was very important. We wish her, in her new challenges, every success”, added the manager.
The changes had already started last week, with the dismissal of the women’s team coordinator, Ana Lorena Marche, and the supervisor, Mayara Bordin. There were also changes in the Brazilian under-20 team: coach Jonas Urias, who played in the Australian and New Zealand Cup as an observer, and Bia Vaz, who was his assistant, dropped out.
Now, it was time to make Pia’s exit official. Two-time Olympic champion ahead of the United States, the Swede was hired in 2019 based on her victorious record and reformulated the team that had stopped in the round of 16 of the World Cup that year. Formiga retired, Cristiane was no longer called up, and Marta, now 37 years old, finally showed strong signs of aging as an athlete.
The team reached the quarterfinals at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, losing only on penalties to Canada, which would go on to win the gold medal. The subsequent results were encouraging, with the conquest of the Copa América, in 2022, and the defeat on penalties to European champions England, in 2023, in the Finalissima, in London.
Then an away win over European runners-up Germany seemed to have filled the confidence players for the Australian and New Zealand Cups, but what was seen in Oceania was disappointing. Thus, Pia Sundhage leaves the team with 57 matches, with 34 wins, 13 draws and 10 defeats. There are 139 goals scored and 42 conceded.
The CBF has not yet defined who will replace her. The favorite is Arhtur Elias, who has been doing extremely successful work at Corinthians since 2016. The big goal is to get the team ready for next year’s Olympic Games, which will start at the end of July. Before that, between February and March, there will be the Gold Cup in the United States.
In the statement in which Sundhage’s resignation was official, the confederation said it would announce the new coaching staff “in the next few days”. The text points out that the chosen group “will start the cycle aiming at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the next Women’s Football World Cup”, which indicates a four-year commitment.