Rio de Janeiro, Nov 26 (DPA) Brazil rely on an unwritten motto — drive, discipline and austerity — to seek in South Africa 2010 their longed-for sixth World Cup title.
Confirming Brazil’s status as the current leader of global football remains a pending task for coach Carlos Dunga, who took over command of the “verdeamarela” amid great scepticism in August 2006, after a disappointing campaign at the 2006 World Cup.
Dunga — an inexperienced manager — silenced his critics with important wins and titles. In 50 matches under the command of Dunga — a former Brazil captain who lifted the trophy in the 1994 World Cup — the “selecao” have won 34 and lost only five.
After a hesitant start, they recovered to end the South American qualifiers at the top of the table, and obtained one of the best streaks of results in Brazil’s triumphant football history.
The team that is led on the pitch by Real Madrid’s Kaka is currently a solid group that stands by the coach.
Over the past three years, Dunga tried to change the spirit of the “canarinha”. With the same strength he showed as a defensive midfielder on the pitch, Dunga built a squad in which no one — not even superstar Kaka — has privileges.
“Dunga adopts the same criteria for all, from Kaka to the substitute keeper,” a source very close to the coach noted.
Unlike what happened in Germany 2006, when then-coach Carlos Alberto Parreira avoided strenuous training and defined himself as a “talent manager”, Dunga demands from players hard, constant work as a condition to remain in the team.
Dunga’s Brazil is a side that is more balanced than brilliant. They do not have in their attacking line the quality of the “triple R” (Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho) that won the 2002 World Cup. But Kaka, Robinho and Luis Fabiano have proved their efficiency: Brazil scored 33 goals in 18 qualifying games.
Moreover, unlike in earlier editions of the World Cup, the defence is no longer a weak point for Brazil. They only let in 11 goals in the qualifiers — half of the goals that second-placed Chile let in.
The only area that is not yet well-defined is the midfield, where only Kaka is guaranteed a place.
Making decisions on the group that is set to travel to South Africa is one crucial task for Dunga in the coming months. Keeping up his men’s spirit and union is another vital aspect as they seek to ratify their place at the top of the world of football.
Carlos Dunga, 46, was a successful defensive midfielder, with a long career in top Brazilian clubs as well as in Italy, Germany and Japan. He also played for Brazil in the 1990 World Cup, and as captain he got to lift the trophy in the 1994 event that the South American giants won.
Still, as a defensive player, he was never a favourite with demanding Brazilian fans, and many later resisted his appointment as Brazil coach, particularly since he had no previous experience on the bench.
However, he went on to win the 2007 Copa America and the 2009 Confederations Cup, and qualified for the World Cup in good form, at the top of the South American region.
Kaka, 27, is undoubtedly a superstar of global football, although his quiet ways and the fact that he is a devout evangelical Christian give him a lower profile than most.
The Brasilia-born playmaker – awarded the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Player of the Year Award in 2007 – has already had a long professional career. He was a star for Brazilian side Sao Paulo almost immediately after making his senior side debut in 2001, and he moved on to Milan only two years later.
With the “rossoneri”, he won the Scudetto in 2004 and the Champions League in 2007. He was also a crowd favourite, and rejected an expensive move to Manchester City in January 2009. Months later, however, he agreed to a move to Real Madrid, based on the fact that Milan needed the cash.
The charismatic Kaka — an occasional model — made his senior Brazil debut in 2002, at the age of 20. South Africa 2010 is set to be his third World Cup.
Nicknames: Canarinho (Little Canary); Selecao Brasileira (Brazilian Selection);
Verde e Amarelo (Green and Yellow)
FIFA affiliation: 1923
Highest FIFA ranking: 1 – September 1993 (first achieved)
Lowest FIFA ranking: 8 – August 1993
Previous World Cup appearances: 18 (1930, 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006)
Best World Cup performance: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Date qualified for finals: Sep 5, 2009