Five-time winners, Brazil, may have to do more than win the FIFA World Cup 2010 if they want to please their fans back home. They will need to play Samba style and not muscle their way to the crown.
The 1970 World Cup was a seminal event in Brazilian — and world — football. Having established their post-war football supremacy, in 1958 and 1962, Brazil lost in 1966. Their winning the title back in 1970 served to shed any plausible doubts about the quality of Brazilian soccer. Also, it was Pele’s last World Cup. Most importantly, that Cup was won playing with unmatched Brazilian flair.
Coach Dunga, of the current squad, is himself a World Cup winner of 1994. And Dunga wants results, first. He is also a self-confessed admirer of the organised defence at which Italy have become so adept.
Dunga’s style is akin to strangling the rival, rather than being creative on the field, for which Brazil are celebrated, worldwide. Including the Copa America in 2007 and the Confederations Cup a year ago, Dunga has delivered decisively, with the team winning 36 of the 53 played under his helm.
Dunga’s selection of players reflects the same pragmatism. Arsenal rejects Filipe Melo and Gilberto Silva man Dunga’s midfield; fans see this as a negative move by the coach. In Dunga’s game plan, players in the mould of Robinho and Kaka must concentrate on tracking back to regain possession.
Also, Dunga prefers Luis Adriano’s in-your-face aggression, as a forward, to the pace and flair that Nilmar and Pato deliver. Brazil’s fans refuse to be consoled by the fact that Adriano netted 9 times during the qualifiers.
Coaches are sacked when their teams lose. So Dunga’s unpopularity appears counter intuitive. He is rebuilding the team after the 2006 World Cup defeat to France in the second round. That team relied on flair, with a line-up that comprised Kaka, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Robinho and Adriano. But lacked teamwork, which is Dunga’s mantra.
If the coach’s plans succeed, and Brazil go on to win the title, this year, Dunga could still emerge a national hero in native Brazil…
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