Athletico dreams of winning the Club World Cup and the goal, in an almost prophetic tone from Mario Celso Petraglia, president of the club, is to get there by 2024. Today (17), the team welcomes Flamengo in the return game of the quarterfinals of final of the Copa do Brasil with a strategy that has already yielded a title of the genre: the union behind the scenes with the right to a surname. The Scolari family, led by Felipão. In 2002, at the head of the Brazilian team, the coach commanded a team with an average age very similar to the current one in Curitiba.
At 73, Luiz Felipe Scolari boasts almost 68% of success ahead of Athletico. The team, on the field, carries the family atmosphere that Felipão knows how to create.
In the 2002 World Cup, the Brazilian team had an average age of 26.2 years and won the cup. Athletico beat Estudiantes, from Argentina, and reached the Libertadores semifinals with an average age of 26.7 years. In the first game against Flamengo, the team had an average of 26.3 years. And in the 2-0 victory over Palmeiras, in the heart of Allianz Parque, the number was even lower: 23.7 years. Three of the team’s most iconic games of the season.
At CT do Caju and Arena da Baixada, Scolari’s relationship with the cast is highly praised. In the first games, the coaching staff prioritized defensive adjustments. He has moved on to offensive strategies and has given freedom to the front for individualities to shine. But it all started outside the four lines.
Athletico has repeated a practice of Felipão that is a symbol of the idea of family. Since the days of the Brazilian and Portuguese selection, the coach advises that the squad is not distributed in small groups during meals. In Hurricane, the Scolari family gathers at the table. Preferably one. Large and undivided.
In different interviews, the coach has cited the reception of the squad as a pillar for the results. Behind the scenes, the summary is as clear as possible. The group believes in the gaucho’s ideas and has trusted the coach.
The scenario at Athletico is opposite to that experienced at Grêmio, in 2021. Hired after the departure of Tiago Nunes, Felipão improved the use of the gaucho team and fought to leave the Z4. He was dismissed from the position after the defeat to Santos, in Vila Belmiro, and the team never repeated the results and also did not escape relegation.
With the commander, Athletico played 27 matches and accumulated 16 wins, seven draws and only four defeats. None of them in the knockout tournaments. Oh, and the Worlds prophecy?
“If Corinthians was, Internacional was, Santos, São Paulo, why can’t we dream of being ourselves too? It depends on competence, belief, work, no one will stop us”, said Petraglia in May of this year.
The duel with Flamengo keeps the title chance in the Copa do Brasil and also prepares the team for the semifinal of Libertadores, against Palmeiras. The certainty now is that the family is at the table again.