Will Dunga keep a cau­tious ap­proach or al­low Brazil to show their flair?

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

WE’LL have to wait un­til next week to know. But three matches for Brazil in 10 days will tell us em­phat­i­cally whether that old Brazil­ian magic is about to ex­plode upon World Cup 2010 or whether prag­ma­tism will reign in Dunga’s squad.

You have to say, at this early stage, the lat­ter looks like­lier than the for­mer un­der their for­mer mid­fielder’s coach­ing struc­ture.

Yet would struc­tured, tight foot­ball based on rock solid de­fence be enough to en­ter­tain and ap­pease the mil­lions of Brazil­ians used to the samba style foot­ball of pre­de­ces­sors? Un­likely, you’d con­clude.

Thus, Brazil’s open­ing matches against North Korea next Tues­day and the game against Ivory Coast five days later, are ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated by the watch­ing world.

As for the clash with Por­tu­gal in Group G on June 25 in Dur­ban, time will tell.

A pop­u­la­tion of 192 mil­lion waits with bated breath back home to see how Dunga’s men per­form.

But so far, Dunga, the man whose name means “Dopey” in Por­tugese, has ex­tracted from his Brazil­ian out­fit an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally mean, par­si­mo­nious set of play­ers in­tent more on de­fence and keep­ing out oth­ers rather than de­stroy­ing all com­ers with bril­liance go­ing for­ward.

Yet would the world re­ally want to see Brazil win this World Cup by keep­ing it tight at the back and try­ing to snatch a goal or two on the break?

Trou­ble is, Dunga has fo­cused on the back four and has as­sem­bled a po­ten­tially out­stand­ing unit.

Maicon and Lu­cio, Cham­pi­ons League win­ners with In­ter Mi­lan last month, are the cor­ner­stones of the back four with Barcelona’s Dani Alves an­other out­stand­ing per­former.

Be­hind them, Julio Ce­sar was In­ter Mi­lan’s goal­keeper in the Cham­pi­ons League suc­cess while Roma’s Juan boasts 75 caps and a com­men­su­rate wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fur­ther for­ward, much will de­pend upon striker Luis Fabi­ano, Sevilla’s hottest prop­erty, and Kaka, who had far from an out­stand­ing sea­son with Real Madrid.

Robinho, who drifted back to Santos from Manch­ester City leav­ing most in English foot­ball dis­tinctly unim­pressed by his at­ti­tude and con­sis­tency, is er­ratic and an un­known quan­tity.

Prop­erly mo­ti­vated in his own mind, he could catch fire and daz­zle and de­light. But you wouldn’t want the fam­ily sil­ver rest­ing on that hy­poth­e­sis.

So per­haps for the first time in decades, this is a Brazil­ian side that looks to have much greater qual­ity in de­fence than at­tack.

That un­doubt­edly ex­plains Dunga’s tac­tics to date and in fair­ness to the coach, they suc­ceeded hand­somely as Brazil eased as­suredly through the qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign.

As­sum­ing Brazil wins Group G, they would prob­a­bly meet ei­ther Chile or Switzer­land for a place in the quar­ter fi­nals and a likely meet­ing with Hol­land.

Eng­land could await them in the semi-fi­nals and, if both sides got there, would it not make more sense for Brazil to try and over­whelm Fabio Capello’s men with their trade­mark ge­nius, fast flow­ing foot­ball rather than opt for a cau­tious, de­fen­sive minded ap­proach? You would have thought that might play into Eng­land’s hands.

Bet­ting against Brazil in any World Cup rarely makes much sense; their record is ex­em­plary. But if Dunga opts to ig­nore their tra­di­tional strength based on pace, move­ment and flow with ball skills to the fore, he could be less­en­ing Brazil’s fear in the minds of op­po­nents. And that would hardly be the smartest thing to do in the world.

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