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Big boys bounce back in Africa

In the 1960s, whispers surfaced that Brazil were about to hire a foreign coach for the first time. Bela Guttmann never was offered the job. Nor was Johan Cruyff at Romario’s suggestion, Jose Mourinho or, despite being “desperate” to guide Brazil at a FIFA World Cup™ they staged, Pep Guardiola.

It took almost 60 years from the initial speculation for a foreigner to finally sit in the Brazil national team hot-seat – one born, ironically, around the time the Guttmann gossip began. Pia Sundhage, who grew up in Sweden when it was still riding the samba roller coaster crested by Garrincha and Pele, assumed charge following the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

FIFA.com caught up with the 59-year-old, who led USA to back-to-back Women’s Olympic Football Tournament golds, to discuss, among other things, her idolisation of Pele, being the first foreigner to guide Brazil and her excitement at coaching Marta.

In the 1960s, whispers surfaced that Brazil were about to hire a foreign coach for the first time. Bela Guttmann never was offered the job. Nor was Johan Cruyff at Romario’s suggestion, Jose Mourinho or, despite being “desperate” to guide Brazil at a FIFA World Cup™ they staged, Pep Guardiola.

It took almost 60 years from the initial speculation for a foreigner to finally sit in the Brazil national team hot-seat – one born, ironically, around the time the Guttmann gossip began. Pia Sundhage, who grew up in Sweden when it was still riding the samba roller coaster crested by Garrincha and Pele, assumed charge following the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

FIFA.com caught up with the 59-year-old, who led USA to back-to-back Women’s Olympic Football Tournament golds, to discuss, among other things, her idolisation of Pele, being the first foreigner to guide Brazil and her excitement at coaching Marta.

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