Before last year’s World Cup, Brazilians drooled at the prospect of seeing four ball players together and a return to futebol-arte. Everybody wanted to see Kaka, Robinho, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo in the same team.
Today they are spitting fire at seeing a midfield comprising four Dungas and no Ronaldinhos. And who can blame them? The midfield Dunga put out in the second half against Chile last night was a disgrace.
Elano, Julio Baptista, Mineiro and Gilberto Silva are all decent footballers but they are ball winners, not ball players. And for Brazilians that is sacrilege.
The image of Brazilian football as the football of Pele, Socrates, Zico and Garrincha is clichéd but real. In Brazil those kind of players are not just what fans want but what they expect. And so Dunga’s insistence in stripping the flair from the side has scandalised a nation.
Not since Carlos Alberto Parreira’s workman like side won the World Cup in 1994 has a Brazilian team been so reviled. And who was the captain back then? Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri. Or, as we know him, Dunga.