Brazil now has flair for the effective
After England's 1-0 loss to Brazil in a friendly in Qatar last November,
Part of Brazil's strength is its reputation. As
In Brazil, there are constant calls for Dunga to pick players with more flair. Last month, a Brazilian television channel ran a program arguing that the young Santos forwards,
Then there is the issue of
Romario is just one of a host of pundits who want to see the AC Milan forward included. Dunga, though, considers him unreliable, and in a squad in which diligence is taken for granted, his relaxed attitude to training could prove disruptive.
Besides, Ronaldinho doesn't track back, something that was embarrassingly obvious in Manchester United's Champions League victory over Milan this season, when United right back
Brazil, though, cannot go back to 1970. That was the last hurrah of pre-systemic football, the last tournament of individualism, and even that was successful largely because the heat and altitude of Mexico made a hard-pressing game impossible (and Brazil was more tactically meticulous than many gave it credit for). By 1974, football was all about high offside lines, closing down the man in possession and manipulating space. The 1982 side of
Every Brazil side since has had a streak of pragmatism, concerning itself with what might be termed European virtues. Dunga even has his side playing that most European of formations, 4-2-3-1, albeit with a Brazilian slant. The European 4-2-3-1 developed from 4-4-2, with one of the center forwards moving back to play as an attacking midfielder while the two central midfielders take up a more overtly defensive role.
In Brazil, though, the default for years has been 4-2-2-2 (in 1982, the two holders were Falcao and
Ramires has become almost the archetypal Dunga player. BBC pundit
There is thus balance and solidity and, as the evidence of the last four years suggests, those attributes are rather more useful to winning trophies than trying to live up to some outdated ideal.