Brazil-Italy: What It Means for Brazil

Samuel DieudonneCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2009

Tomorrow afternoon, the world's most-decorated national football teams—Brazil and Italy—will share the stage in London in what will surely be an entertaining clash between two great soccer-crazed nations.

For Carlos Dunga's Brazil, this game will be used as an opportunity to silence their many critics—including me, who think he has forgotten and thrown out Brazil's purist principles of Jogo Bonito (Beautiful Play) for an industrialized, European-style of play.

Despite this, the team has relatively enjoyed great success under Dunga—a Copa America and the side are currently second place in the South American Qualifiers. 

Since taking over from Parriera at the end of the 2006 World Cup,Dunga's Brazil hasn't exactly set the world on fire.

Under Dunga's reign this team has gone on a roller-coaster ride when it comes to form. The team has struggled to find its identity as three 3-0 victories over Argentina in two friendlies and Copa America were followed up with a humiliating 3-0 thrashing from Argentina in Beijing where it mattered most to the fans.

Entertaining 5-0 victories like the one over Equador at the Maracana, and 3-0 over Chile away were short lived as they were soon met and rivaled by embarassing 0-0 stalemates against Colombia and Bolivia with an inevitable 2-0 defeat from Paraguay thereafter have caused people like me to Question the methods of Dunga.

Such results which have caused the Brazilian people to jeer what they consider now to be only old heroes whom don't really Know the importanceto of sporting such a jersey, and cheer Argentina's Lionel Messi—whom President Lula himself has hailed as the world's best current player.

The coach's reluctance to build a team around guys like the slow Gilberto Silva, Miniero, Juan, Kleber and a Ronaldinho whom he brands as being experienced insted of embrassing the young guns, while others who have immense Quality and potential like Felipe Melo, Anderson, Diego and Marcelo to name some; wait in the wings is really frustrating. These decisions are causing Brazil fans from all over the world call for Dunga's head and were simply tired of it.

For a while he seemed to have had problems finding a regular No. 9 striker to replace the void left since Ronaldo. However, he has now found Luis Fabiano, who has partnered Robinho pretty well up front since becoming a regular.

But his treatment of Brazil's next great star Pato is inevitably sad.

He has shown confidence in a waste named Vagner Love, an outcast named Fred and a no-name called Alfonso Alves instead of offering the young Brazil craque a chance to develop his potential and become great.

Pato was handed his debut and scored but failed to impress in Beijing, and Dunga slammed him for that. he's been doing relatively well in Milan of late and it remains to be seen how Dunga will utilise him since Fabiano is injured.

Dunga must somehow prove to the world that his team is still capable of playing beautiful and constructive football, while getting results like he did in their last outing—a friendly rout of Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, 6-2.

The Italy clash is the right place to showcase what they can do against the likes of Pirlo, De Rossi, Aquilani, and company.

Several Other Brazil fans and I will be watching with optimism. Whether Brazil delivers some beautiful football remains to be seen