JOHANNESBURG - Brazil are often hailed
for their outstanding technique and breathtaking individual
talent but the five-times world champions are also among the
leaders when it comes to preparation.
While a number of Europeans teams have looked jaded in South
Africa, Brazil, who have undergone a meticulous training
programme since the squad assembled in late May, still look
fresh and raring to go.
In fact, coach Dunga says his biggest job is to get his
players to take it easy.
"These lads love to train and to be with the ball," he told
reporters after his team demolished Chile 3-0 to reach the
"But we have to try and put the brakes on their enthusiasm.
At this point in the competition, our main job is to make sure
they relax and recover so they are fit for the next game.
"We are slowing down the training so the players devote
their energy to the games themselves.
"Some people don't understand that we have to slow down the
rhythm of training, have a special nutrition programme, tell
them to go to bed early and not stay up until late on the
"This is a very well-planned campaign," he added. "Every
aspect has been well-thought out, including the physical side
and the medical side."
Brazil have long been ahead of the pack in terms of
Back in 1958, they broke new ground by taking doctors, a
dentist and a sports psychologist to the World Cup in Sweden,
where they won the first of their five world titles.
At the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Brazil seemed hardly
bothered by the altitude and midday heat thanks to their
preparation while eight years ago in Japan and South Korea, they
looked fresh while other teams - notably Argentina and France - overdid the warm-up and looked exhausted.
Dunga said one of the biggest challenges this time was to
get striker Luis Fabiano and playmaker Kaka back to peak fitness
after injury-plagued seasons in Spain.
"They weren't worn out but, on the other hand, they didn't
have any rhythm," he said. "We had to set up a tailor-made
programme for them.
"Kaka hadn't played a full 90 minutes in the last five
months, so we had to build him up to allow him to play. But we
didn't have much time, so this made it complicated."
Dunga said he had also benefitted from a coherent selection
policy with no last-minute changes.
"This group of players has been built up over the last three
years and all I have to do is look at my players or say just a
few words to get the message across and they understand it
"They're very mature and understand what I'm trying to say.
It makes my job easy."
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