Brazil seems to have no shortage of great young soccer players. But coaches? Not so much.
After its disastrous showing in the World Cup it hosted, Brazil has decided to go back to the future by replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari, a two-time national team coach, with Dunga, who is returning to the Selecao for a second time after coaching it in the last World Cup.
“I am immensely happy to be back,” Dunga, whose four-year coaching stint ended with elimination in the quarterfinals at the 2010 World Cup, told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
Scolari’s team got farther, reaching the semifinals in Brazil. But his reign ended poorly with back-to-back losses to Germany and the Netherlands by a combined score of 10-1. Germany went on to win the title, its fourth, while Brazil finished fourth overall.
And Dunga said that should lead to some necessary soul-searching in Brazil.
"We are no longer the best," he said. "This is a project we all need to be aware of. Everybody had a concept of football and the World Cup. We can no longer pretend to be the big guys or that we are the best.”
Brazil has won a record five World Cups, but Dunga, who captained the Brazilian team that won the World Cup in the U.S. in 1994, said that the rest of the world has caught up and that the pressure to stay on top proved too much for many of Brazil’s players.
"Before the World Cup happens, we sell to the public the idea we're going to win. But we don't know if we'll win. We need to be more modest,” said Dunga, who was 42-6-12 in his first stay with the national team. “It's important to compromise because our opponents always want to beat us because we're Brazil.
"The Brazilian shirt is very respected, but everyone wants to beat us. We have to be prepared for that. We can't think that we'll pull on the Brazilian shirt and win the World Cup before it's even started.”
Apparently some of his players are already on the same page with Dunga.
"I think Brazilian soccer is behind," star striker Neymar told AFP. "It's behind Germany and Spain. We've slipped behind, and we have to be man enough to admit it."
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