By Andrew Downie
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil have sacked manager Luiz Felipe Scolari just hours after the end of a home World Cup in which they suffered two of their worst defeats in the tournament's history, one of Brazil's leading newspapers reported on Monday.
Scolari's Brazil were favorites to win the tournament but were demolished 7-1 in the semi-finals by eventual champions Germany. To compound their misery, they lost the third-place playoff 3-0 against the Netherlands.
Scolari, who led Brazil to the last of their record five World Cups in 2002, said after the game he would make a report to his bosses at the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and only then would his fate be decided.
But O Globo reported that Scolari was fired late on Sunday. The paper said an official announcement would be made on Monday.
There was no confirmation from the CBF, nor from Scolari's press adviser.
Scolari took over the post in November 2012 and lost just five of his 29 games in charge. He led Brazil to the Confederations Cup last year with a memorable 3-0 defeat of then world champions Spain in the final.
He was hugely popular in Brazil for his gruff charm and also with the players, who looked up to him as a father figure.
He had the support of the nation going into the World Cup and there was very little opposition to his squad selection, a rarity in Brazil, famously known as "a nation of 200 million coaches."
If his departure is confirmed, early front-runners to replace him would be Tite, the man who led Corinthians to the Libertadores Cup and Club World Cup in 2012, and Muricy Ramalho, the current coach of Sao Paulo.
However, there are also likely to be calls for a foreign manager for the first time in Brazil’s history.
The CBF has always resisted that idea, with reports they refused to even talk with Spaniard Pep Guardiola before he joined Bayern Munich.
However, many others believe the malaise goes much deeper than the coach and want reforms of the CBF.
The organization voted to elect a new president in April – Marco Polo Del Nero was the only candidate - but he will not take over from 82-year-old Jose Maria Marin until next year.
That early election was a strategic decision made to protect them from any possible disaster in the 2014 World Cup, said Common Sense FC, a group of more than 1,000 professionals who are pressing for reforms within the game.
"The dispute for the presidency is incontestable proof that the concepts of elections and democracy do not necessarily members of the same family," Common Sense FC said in a statement released Monday morning.
"Brazilian football – despite the sad end to the 2014 World Cup – will remain in the hands of the men who brought us here."
(Editing by Andrew Cawthorne/Alan Baldwin)