By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Dunga, the new coach of the Brazilian national side, is planning a major overhaul of the squad, according to reports in the Brazilian press over recent days. The 1994 World Cup-winning captain was reappointed last week and his long term goal is the next FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia in 2018.
Should Dunga still be in charge four years from now, it will be his fifth participation with Brazil at a World Cup tournament. He was involved three times as a player, in 1990, 1994 and 1998, and coached the Seleção at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
His first match back in charge is in a little over a month’s time. Brazil take on their World Cup quarter-final opponents, Colombia, in a friendly on September 5th in Miami.
Games have also been lined up against fellow South Americans Ecuador, in New Jersey, a clash with great rivals Argentina, in Beijing, China, and a friendly against Turkey, in Istanbul. In addition, Brazil will play two further matches against as yet unconfirmed opposition before the end of the calendar year.
During their Colombian encounter earlier this month the Seleção progressed to the semi-final with a 2-1 win thanks in part to a wonderful free-kick from David Luiz. However the match was marked for the rough treatment of playmaker James Rodriguez and Brazil’s aggressive approach to the game.
In total there were over fifty fouls committed in the match. Brazil’s holding midfielder, Fernandinho, was arguably lucky to stay on the field following several dangerous tackles on Rodriguez.
During Dunga’s first spell in charge, between 2006 and 2010, he faced criticism for a defensive style of play. Yet he will have evolved as a coach, according to Jorginho, Dunga’s team-mate at the 1994 World Cup and his assistant during the 2010 campaign.
“People learn from their mistakes. He has been involved with the Seleção for twelve years as a player and four as a coach already,” he said.
Speaking at his inaugural press conference last week, Dunga looks set to continue his accustomed style, a solid defense assisted by a rapid counter-attacking style. “It is very nice to talk about offensive football as an art form, but a goalkeeper making a wonderful save is also art, a center-half stealing the ball is also art,” he said to assembled reporters from the national and international press.
There is a feeling that Brazil have arrived at the dawning of a new era. Their thrashing at the hands of eventual world champions Germany proved that Brazil, once the trend setters in world football, are now behind the global leaders in the game. That makes Dunga’s task all the more complex.
This is not simply a question of adjusting the players’ attitudes; his job will entail a complete overhaul of the tactical approach and preparation as well as his playing staff. Since his arrival last week many have speculated as to who could be part of the Dunga revolution. With the announcement of his first squad due in less than a month speculation is rife he will dispense with several of Scolari’s trusted charges for a more compact unit.
The likes of Dedé, of Cruzeiro, Ralf of Corinthians and Santos forward Gabriel Barbosa Almeida, known more commonly as “Gabigol”, have all been mentioned as possible Seleção players under Dunga. He has a year of preparatory work before his first major test, the Copa America in Chile in July 2015.