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Dunga Mission to Restore Brazil Pride Makes Colombia Game no Friendly

Dunga Mission to Restore Brazil Pride Makes Colombia Game no Friendly

Posted by Juan Gavasa on September 03, 2014

For once it was not a bad idea for Brazil to reconvene away from home, despite the fact that Miami, where on early on Saturday morning, theSeleçao play a friendly with Colombia, hosts a population of Brazilians estimated at more than 250,000 – more than enough to guarantee a heavy presence at the 20,000-seat FIU Stadium.

In their first game since their World Cup campaign ended with a 7-1 thrashing by Germany in the semi-final at Belo Horizonte on 8 July and a3-0 drubbing in the third-place play-off against Holland a few days later, the Seleçao would certainly not be received with a party atmosphere, even if they wanted to play at home.

It is in the United States that the returning manager Dunga will try to organise an operation that this time involves more than the start of a World Cup cycle. By keeping 10 of the 23 players called up by Luiz Felipe Scolari for the recently ended tournament, the 1994 World Cup-winning captain is gambling on the possibility that said athletes will be able to shake off the psychological blow of Belo Horizonte.

Easier said than done, as Manchester City’s Fernandinho, one of the survivors, points out. “I don’t think people will ever stop asking us what happened in that game against Germany. Rest assured that none of us have forgotten it either.”

Nonetheless, Brazil have to move on as quickly as possible and that means a convincing performance against pretty much the same Colombia side they struggled to beat 2-1 in the World Cup quarter-final. Friendly it might be, but only in name.

While the Colombia full-back Juan Zúñiga has not been called up by the manager, José Pékerman, which has quashed the inevitable controversy surrounding a meeting with Neymar after the challenge that took the Brazilian out of the World Cup with a fractured bone in his back, pretty much everyone else from their valiant campaign is back – that includes the Golden Boot winner James Rodríguez.

The Colombians will be interested in testing Brazil’s resolve and also scoring psychological points before the South American qualifiers for Russia 2018 begin next year. For neutrals the gruelling league-format system could not be more exciting after all the teams from the continent managed to clear the group stages at the 2014 World Cup.

Brazilians, however, fear their team’s World Cup attendance record of never having missed one has never been more threatened. TheSeleçao’s mission, nonetheless, also involves playing football and many fans are still to be convinced that the appointment of Dunga is the way forward.

Despite the quirky match in Belo Horizonte, Brazil at no point showed tactical flexibility or even a plan that did not involve the hope that Neymar could bail them out. While polls still showed resistance towards an overseas manager, the Brazilian Football Confederation reportedly approached Alejandro Sabella, who took Argentina to the 2014 final, in an attempt to bring in fresh ideas at a time Brazilian managers have pretty much vanished from the international scene.

At the recent World Cup Scolari was the only representative from the country that in previous tournaments had boasted as many as five.

But Dunga, who departed the job in 2010 under accusations of valuing discipline over skill, is back and ironically he is an expert in resurrections. Singled out after a horrendously pragmatic Brazil side crashed and burned in the round-of-16 at Italy 1990, he lifted the trophy four years later and helped the Seleçao to the final at France 98.

As a manager his Brazil were not pretty to watch but they still won the 2007 Copa América and the 2009 Confederations Cup as well as topping the World Cup qualifying group before narrowly losing to Holland in the quarter-finals of South Africa 2010.

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