On the tightrope? The challenges of the Pia Sundhage technique in charge of the women’s team
Coach Pia Sundhage was recruited to head the Women’s National Team after the 2019 World Cup, at least until the 2024 Olympics in Paris. She was the perfect person to reinvent the sport in the nation, having won two Olympic gold medals.
After three years of hard labour, the first more serious issues surface. In addition to off-field concerns, her performance in 2022 is hampered by poor outcomes. Only the team’s first win in five games came against Hungary.
As a result, the current topic is whether Pia is walking a tightrope and if she can be dismissed as head coach of the Brazilian squad.
Bad streak of results
In the build-up to the World Cup, the Men’s National Team often faces the problem of a lack of quality opponents. Brazil played a series of games against European teams in 2022, demonstrating that this is not a concern for women’s football.
The issue is that the findings have yet to be published. Before losing to France, the team had three consecutive draws against Holland, Finland, and Spain. The first triumph came in a 3-1 win against Hungary, which not only ended the losing skid but also served as the last FIFA match before the Copa America.
Copa America is the next appointment
The Brazilian team’s pre-season friendlies are aimed at preparing for the Copa América 2022, which will be held in Colombia in July. Aside from the championship, winning first ensures Brazil’s participation in two major events: the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics.
The Brazilian squad should have little trouble becoming champion – there have been seven victories in eight seasons. In other words, a position in the major tournaments is almost certain, but the strength of the squad to compete in them is the key issue.
Winning resume in women’s football
Pia Sundhage is one of the most accomplished female football coaches in the world. In her resume, she has three Olympic medals, two of which are gold with the United States team. As a result, she provides a curriculum to the Brazilian squad that it has never had before.
Aside from the results — Brazil’s Olympic campaign ended in the semifinals following a penalty shootout loss to eventual winner Canada — the sport is undergoing a metamorphosis. Pia is a familiar character in the lives of people in all walks of life, and she championed the merger of experts and ordinary people.
Basic aspects, like as the presence of psychologists in all categories and the preparation of reports on the players called up, which are accessible to the clubs, were introduced, as they have been in men’s football for decades. Outside of the field, the progression is obvious.
Pia Sundhage’s key supporters in the national team consider her work as critical to the development of women’s football in Brazil in this regard. Although the outcomes may not be seen for some time, the changes they cause might have a long-term impact.
Controversies play against the Swedish coach
The plan was to keep Pia until 2024, the conclusion of the next Olympic cycle. According to a report in the daily O Estado de S. Paulo, the coach’s position in the CBF is no longer unanimous, and he might be sacked. Other names that come up as possibilities are Simone Jatobá, a coach who excels at the under-17 level, and Arthur Elias, the head coach of Corinthians.
Off-the-field problems, like as the instance of goalie Barbara, who clashed with a paralympic athlete on social media days before the judgment against Canada in Tokyo, has been a source of intense criticism. A lack of call-ups for certain players is also a factor.
The most recent instance included Gio Queiroz, who accused Barcelona of moral harassment for failing to protect the Brazilian squad, among other things. She earned the Samba Gold as the greatest Brazilian athlete in international football in 2021 while playing for Levante, although she was excluded off Pia’s team list. Another example is Gabi Zanotti, who thrives at Corinthians.
Naturally, poor performances bring these issues to light, therefore restoring the national team’s strong form is the first step in avoiding questions.
Marta’s injury is yet another challenge
Finally, Marta‘s injury may complicate matters further. The best player in the nation hurt her knee and will be sidelined for five to 10 months following surgery. As a result, she will almost certainly be absent from the Copa America, and she may not play again until 2023.
Given Brazil’s slim chances of missing out on the 2023 World Cup, which will be held in Oceania, it’s reasonable to assume the coach will be retained until then. However, the following set of outcomes might be crucial for Pia Sundhage’s work with the Women’s Soccer Team.