DURBAN - Brazil coach Dunga trotted out
the same old excuses after his team's dismal goalless draw with
Portugal but his familiar complaints about over-cautious
opponents are unlikely to cut much ice with the critics.
The famously grumpy Brazil coach effectively accused
Portugal of being spoilsports for packing their defence and
challenging Brazil to find a way through. Brazil failed and the
result was a petulant, scrappy goalless draw.
"It was a difficult game, the Portuguese put everyone behind
the halfway line," Dunga said. "Portugal's tactics were normal.
Everyone takes extra precautions when they play Brazil."
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar echoed his coach's sentiments.
"It's turning into a tradition," he said. "All the teams who
face Brazil shut up shop and try to exploit the counter-attack,
because they know that our football culture is always to take
Those comments had a familiar ring about them.
Dunga took almost exactly the same line when his team
struggled to breakdown a stubborn North Korea defence in their
opening game, which they eventually won 2-1.
Critics, however, say it's Dunga's own fault for packing his
squad with midfield spoilers and refusing to take risks.
Under Dunga, Brazil themselves are much happier playing on
the counter-attack and it seems a bit much for him to complain
when their opponents try to do the same.
Dunga's team are extremely difficult to beat - they have
won 18 of their last 21 matches - but depend on isolated
moments of individual brilliance to win matches.
They do not attack continually and numbers in the same way
as Argentina, Chile or Spain, the most adventurous teams in
South Africa, and when the inspiration dries up as it did on
Friday, the result can be 90 minutes of unrelenting tedium.
Although Dunga's team generally have an excellent record,
some of Brazil's worst-ever performances -- including goalless
home draws against Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela in the World
Cup qualifiers -- have come under his watch.
Monday's second round match against Chile offers an more
Chile are a team who like to pour forward, leaving plenty of
spaces for Brazil's counter-attacking game.
Brazil have met their fellow South Americans five times
under Dunga's leadership, winning them all.
Brazil will also welcome back playmaker Kaka, suspended
against the Portuguese, and Robinho, who was rested.
They are the only two players will real spark in the Brazil
squad and Kaka's absence especially was badly felt on Friday,
especially by target man Luis Fabiano, whose supply lines dried
up and was only noticed when he picked up a yellow card for a
Former World Player of the Year Kaka, who had an unhappy
debut season with Real Madrid, has shown signs that he could be
returning to his best and Brazil will need him to continue his
revival against on Monday.
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