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 after a disappointing campaign at the 2006 World Cup.
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 (below) is currently a solid group that stands by the coach. Over the past three years, Dunga tried to change the spirit of the team. 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’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 welldefined is the midfield, where only Kaka is guaranteed a place.
The Star: 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 – won the Scudetto in 2004 and the Champions League in 2007 with AC Milan. 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.