SAO PAULO, June 19 (Reuters) - It’s a World Cup reporter’s dream. You board a plane and who’s on the flight with you? Luiz Felipe Scolari, the coach of Brazil’s national soccer team.
Or at least that’s what Mario Sergio Conti, one of Brazil’s best-known syndicated columnists, thought on Wednesday on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo.
Instead, it turned out to be Vladimir Palomo, a Scolari look-alike who proceeded to give Conti an interview as if he were Big Phil himself.
In the interview, Palomo praised young striker Neymar, cited the Netherlands, Germany and Italy as tough rivals for Brazil, and voiced surprise at Spain’s early elimination from the World Cup. He also said he remained confident in Brazil’s chances despite Tuesday’s scoreless draw with Mexico.
Three of Brazil’s most-read news websites - Folha de S.Paulo, O Globo and UOL - all published the interview on Wednesday evening. Hours later, when it emerged that Scolari had spent the day in Fortaleza and hadn’t been on the flight, all three promptly took down the interview and published apologies for the mix-up.
Palomo, as it happens, makes money on the side as a Scolari look-alike at events. (Editing by Keith Weir)