by Robbie Blakeley

The Brazilian public were granted their wish. After two years and three months at the helm of the Seleção ship, coach Mano Menezes was sent packing this past Friday afternoon.

Seen by the vast majority as a relief – Menezes never failed to earn public support – three names now stand out as the favourites for arguably football’s toughest task.

Tite, who won the Copa Libertadores (South America’s Champions League) last June with Corinthians, Muricy Ramalho, who won the 2011 Libertadores and the 2010 Brasileirão title with Santos and Fluminense respectively, not to mention three successive Brasileirãos between 2006 and 2008 with São Paulo, and Luiz Felipe Scolari, have been plastered over television screens and radio broadcasts since 4:06pm on Friday.

Whichever of the three is offered the job, and presuming they accept, their first order of the day must be to establish the base of the side which will compete for the 2014 World Cup. Something Menezes inherently failed to do, having used a faintly ridiculous 102 players during his tenure, including 13 goalkeepers and 23 playmakers.

Menezes’ planning certainly suffered from a lack of regular competitive football; as hosts of the next World Cup, Brazil do not need to qualify and have played a huge number of friendly games, largely against inferior opposition. But Menezes failed his two main auditions, the 2011 Copa America, where Brazil lost in the quarter-finals to Paraguay, and the 2012 Olympic Games, when a Mexican goal 28 seconds into the final rendered the team paralysed.

The CBF feared that a third failure, with the Confederations Cup Brazil’s final big rehearsal prior to the big kick-off, would irreparably damage the side’s preparations. Releasing a statement following Menezes’ departure yesterday afternoon, the CBF pledged to reveal their new manager in January.

The people’s choice is without a doubt Scolari, those 2002 memories of Brazil’s last global glory fading after two underwhelming performances in 2006 and 2010. But he is without a meaningful trophy since and his last role in Brazilian football was to steer Palmeiras towards relegation, the club falling through the trapdoor with three rounds left to play.

Tite is on the up and up with Corinthians, soon to compete in the World Club Championship in Japan, but the man most suited and mentally strong enough to deal with the pressure not only from the press but 170 million fanatics is Muricy Ramalho. Having already turned down the job in 2010, preferring to focus instead on Fluminense’s ultimately successful title push, the time is now perfect for the experienced tactician to make the move to the international stage.

Brazil will play five matches prior to the Confederations Cup which will subsequently give Ramalho his one big chance before Brazil open the curtain on the 2014 World Cup. Having made the wrong judgment call after the 2010 failure, the CBF have no more room for second guessing.

Robbie is the senior sports reporter for the Rio Times.