Dunga’s Chile win should fool no one

The only conclusion that you can draw so far is that Brazil saves its best against Chile. Three matches, three wins, 13 goals for and one against. Chile has been good to Brazil and today their coach Nelson Acosta resigned.
The 6-1 win against Chile received the media’s approval and Dunga was celebrated for sticking to his guns. This after the loss against Mexico and a hard earned victory against Ecuador courtesy a dubious PK awarded to Robinho.
A 3-0 win over Argentina in Dunga’s early days was followed by a sequence of narrow wins, desultory draws, and losses against Portugal and Mexico broken by the Chile blowouts. The record in context looks a little above ordinary but even World Champs Italy have been struggling under manager Roberto Donadoni. So it is not just Dunga having his work cut out.
However, under Dunga, Brazil is charting an entirely different direction, albeit an untenable one. What one sees is his desire to “out-europeanize” Europe in their soccer. Reliance on set pieces, emphasis on defending a scoreline, and a virtual wall of defensive midfielders and physically imposing defenders. Dunga’s vision seems to be a variation of the catenaccio.
Of course, this was all a part of the CBF’s strategy in the late 80’s to rein in the showboating attack and the indiscipline on defense that was Tele Santana’s hallmark and a failure in the eyes of the CBF in his ability to win the World Cup in’ 82 and ’86. The agents of change chosen to steer the new course were Carlos Alberto Parriera and Mario Zagalo. Dunga was the player on the ground to execute that vision and now he is their manager, wary of skill and big name strikers. You take any win however narrow and/ or ugly.
But the times have changed for Europe too. European soccer is no longer defined by its set pieces and steel trap defenses as some of the most exciting names in attack are coming out of Europe and not Brazil. France, Netherlands, Germany, and now Croatia are the incubators for attacking talent. Italy’s success in the World Cup showed that they did not need a Paolo Rossi as their goals came from different sources. In contrast, the new Brazilian strikers look fairly ordinary. Alexander ‘Pato’ de Silva might be touted as the next big name but he and the U20 squad showed their limitations in the ongoing World Cup. Vagner Love and Fred are pedestrian in comparison to the Ro’s – Romario, Rivaldo, and Ronaldo.
Brazil’s soccer is in danger of being overshadowed in South America itself as Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile are producing some of the most outstanding talent. The favela factor where good Brazilian talent almost always go overseas to richer leagues is creating a situation where no one really feels committed to play for the national squad or are burned out by an unrelenting season seems to be pinching Brazilian soccer when it needs them the most.

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