7 Brazil Players the Dunga Era Should Leave Behind
With the appointment of any new coach in football, there is bound to be some reorganisation of team affairs. Rarely has this been so pressing with the Selecao Brasileira as today. As Dunga embarks on his second spell as Brazil head coach, Bleacher Report takes a look at seven names who could see their international careers brought to an end by the no-nonsense former midfield enforcer.
Usually on Bleacher a few Honorary Mentions accompany a slideshow. Yet the word honorary didn't quite fit the context of this article. As Dunga is more than likely to make a few cuts, Cautionary Mentions seemed far more apt.
Cautionary Mention: DAVID LUIZ
His performance against Germany in the World Cup semi-final could quite possibly go down as the most horrendous in the history of the Selecao. With his side a goal down but still 79 minutes left on the clock, Luiz morphed into an Energizer bunny who had lost all sense of direction.
Continuously caught out of position, the Germans found the path to goal as simple as shooting fish in a barrel. Horribly exposed against players of the highest quality, there must have been a shiver of trepidation down the spine of the Paris Saint-Germain owners after forking out 50 million pounds for the 27-year-old.
Any more wayward showings and Dunga may well be looking for the answer to defensive solidity closer to home, either in Cruzeiro's Dede, this week linked to Juventus, per UOL Esporte (link in Portuguese) and Doria of Botafogo, who may have been on his way to Turkish outfit Galatasaray had it not been for the high asking price, as reported by Globo Esporte (link in Portuguese).
Cautionary Mention: PAULINHO
The player who suffered the most alarming dip in form between the Confederations and World Cups, it is entirely plausible Paulinho simply ran out of steam. Winning continental and world titles with Corinthians in 2012, to Confederations Cup success in 2013, followed by a move to Premiership outfit Tottenham Hotspur, the 25-year-old has barely had time to draw breath over the last 24 months.
On his day one of the finest box-to-box midfielders around, Dunga may nevertheless give the player linked with Real Madrid and Inter Milan earlier in the summer a rest period during the remaining friendlies in 2014.
Cautionary Mention: OSCAR
The 22-year-old struggled for form prior to the World Cup and after an excellent opening display against Croatia, productivity fell once again. The No. 11 virtually left Neymar alone to carry the creative burden, which meant with Brazil's offensive prowess in the final third halved, Fred was given precious little service at the top of the attack.
After an excellent season for Liverpool last term, the clamours for Philippe Coutinho's inclusion grow ever louder. A bright start to the upcoming campaign could well see the Liverpool playmaker dislodge his Chelsea rival in the Selecao starting line-up.
There is an established train of thought that the third-choice goalkeeper at a World Cup, who is unlikely to play unless in the most extreme of circumstances, should be a young stopper with the potential of becoming the country's future No. 1.
With Julio Cesar and Jefferson established as Luiz Felipe Scolari's first and second-choice keepers respectively at this summer's FIFA World Cup, that should have paved the way for possibly Neto, of Fiorentina, or Napoli's Rafael Cabral, to join up with the senior squad and gain some important tournament experience.
Scolari promptly ignored said wisdom, instead relying on 31-year-old Victor to tag along for the World Cup journey. Having not played a minute, and with Cesar now retired as well, Dunga has the perfect opportunity to cultivate his own Selecao stoppers.
2. DANIEL ALVES
One of Brazil's most disappointing performers at the World Cup was Alves. Even the stubborn Scolari lost patience, replacing the Barcelona full-back with the more defensively sound Maicon. The offensive-minded defender was a constant weak link, continually caught out of position and at fault for the only goal Cameroon managed to score in the entire competition.
During Dunga's first reign in charge of Brazil he opted for Maicon above Alves at the 2010 World Cup, and his second coming may spell the end for the 31-year-old in national colours.
In addition, in Mario Fernandes and Marcos Rocha, of CSKA Moscow and Atletico Mineiro respectively, there are a couple of options for Dunga to experiment with prior to, and perhaps even during, the Copa America in Chile next year. Alves' days look numbered.
The wrong side of 30 and shown up against world-class opposition, the Bayern stopper could have reached the end of the Selecao road. Ineffective against the might of the German machine, his inclusion only highlighted how much Brazil rely on Thiago Silva.
The Dante bandwagon had been gathering force over the previous 18 months after solid displays for the German champions, but there is a reason he has played the majority of his career at a lower level. Dante lacks pace and his positional sense and leadership qualities are not exemplary enough to compensate for this gaping character defect. Dunga should look elsewhere.
Once considered the next big thing to come off the Brazilian production line, Hernanes has been a peripheral figure on the international scene throughout his career. A regular performer for Lazio before moving to Milan giants Inter, the 29-year-old deep-lying playmaker has never been given a run of games to prove himself at international level since making his Selecao bow back in 2008.
That lack of trust was once again proved during the World Cup, with Paulinho, Ramires and Fernandinho all selected ahead of the Internazionale man.
He made just one appearance during Dunga's first spell—a friendly against Sweden in March 2008—before being discarded until the arrival of Mano Menezes. With several options for a central-midfield role, Dunga is unlikely to rely on the former Sao Paulo prodigy.
His time has come and gone without ever being truly appreciated.
One of the most vilified members of Scolari's Brazil squad, Hulk is without doubt a grafter and a runner, but not much else. The Zenit forward managed just three goals under Felipao despite playing in 21 of the 29 games over which Scolari presided between February 2013 and July 2014.
Given his physique and attributes, Hulk may well have been better suited to a target-man role in a 4-2-3-1 rather than being left marooned on the right flank. And considering the country's dearth of options for centre forward the 28-year-old could be a competitor for that role, but his finishing is not consistent enough at international level to justify, for the time being at least, such a pivotal role in the team.
His age suggests it won't be an attribute he will be able to rectify at his stage of his career. Time for Dunga to discard a Scolari regular.
The phrase "boy amongst men" comes to mind when thinking of the slight Shakhtar Donetsk forward. The former Atletico Mineiro starlet has been a firm Scolari favourite since the Confederations Cup without ever fully convincing in a Selecao shirt.
Big Phil's decision to play Bernard against Germany in the World Cup semi-final proved folly of the highest order. Playing wide and needing to track back to lend assistance against a five-man midfield, Bernard's defensive abilities proved about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
The 21-year-old is yet to fully push on from his promising start to professional life in Belo Horizonte and should think about ensuring he plays regular club football before trying to fulfil any international aspirations he may still hold.
However bad you think Fred was during the World Cup, Jo was the striker who couldn't dislodge him from the team. Tall and with a good touch, Jo's overall ability to finish when in front of goal is far too unreliable to make him a long-term option for Dunga and the Selecao.
Currently embroiled in controversy with club Atletico Mineiro, his domestic future remains undefined. His international career, meanwhile, looks dead and buried.