5 Big Decisions Facing New Brazil Boss Dunga
Brazil manager Dunga is set for a second bite of the cherry with the national team and will hope to right the wrongs of his first spell in charge.
In order to do so, the 1994 World Cup-winning captain will need to make numerous changes to the national team setup and do so with some haste.
Next summer (and, indeed, the year after), Brazil face the challenge of Copa America tournaments and results at those events will go a long way to determining Dunga’s approval ratings.
Where, then, does the new selecao boss need to make key decisions?
Decide Upon a Captain for Coming Tournaments
Thiago Silva's captaincy of Brazil this summer prompted much debate in the media, with many pundits unhappy with the PSG defender's inability to control his emotions.
David Luiz had seemed to be the natural leader on the pitch, with Thiago instead leading by example, but even the former Chelsea man's leadership was seen as problematic by the end of the tournament.
Rather than leading the team, there was a suspicion that it was becoming more about David Luiz himself than the team.
Dunga was a terrific captain in his own right and thus knows a thing or two about leadership. A key task, then, is to decide who is ready to take on the mantle of leading Brazil into a new era.
Who Should Take the No. 1 Shirt?
Having identified a captain for his side, the next big priority for Dunga is to settle upon a goalkeeper for coming Copa America tournaments.
Fortunately, while Brazil may not have superstar glovemen, there are plenty of viable candidates for the role based on both sides of the Atlantic. Solidity and good judgement in a goalkeeper is more important than spectacular reflexes.
In European football, the most obvious candidates for the role would be Napoli's Rafael and Valencia's Diego Alves. At home, meanwhile, Fabio, Victor and Jefferson would all hope to compete for the position.
There may be no standout candidate, but Dunga will be content with the options available.
Plan How to Get Brazil Playing Again
While nobody expects the return of Jogo Bonito, a perhaps mythicised concept anyway, but Brazil need to at least rediscover a way of playing progressive football.
Dunga’s game in his first spell as Brazil manager was based on counter-attacking play and there is no reason why that cannot be engrossing and entertaining as a style.
Moving away from players like Fred and Hulk and toward the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Lucas Moura will go a long way to changing the image of the side.
Neymar and Oscar will continue to play important roles, but Dunga must find a better attacking balance for the future of the selecao.
Whose Brazil Careers Should Come to an End
Moving on is never easy, but Dunga must do so if Brazil are to head into a brighter future. In some cases it is simple, with the likes of Maicon, Julio Cesar and Fred of little use to the selecao's future.
However, it is also time to consider the international futures of players like Maxwell, Rafinha and Dani Alves, who will all be past their best by the time of the next World Cup.
While it is also not advisable to move straight onto a team of kids, the ending of a four-year cycle represents the ideal time to call time on the careers of more senior players.
Should, given time, they prove their performance levels can be sustained there would be opportunity for a recall. For now, though, it is time to explore other options.
Identify a New Centre-Forward to Lead the Brazil Attack
Brazilian football is still blessed with a number of truly outstanding talents, but there is an undeniable shortage of quality strikers.
Fred and Jo underwhelmed at the World Cup, but there were also a lack of viable alternatives for then manager Luiz Felipe Scolari to consider.
Some would like to see Sao Paulo’s Alan Kardec involved, while further afield the likes of Lima, Luiz Adriano and Elkeson have outstanding goalscoring records worthy of consideration.
Dunga must now decide upon which forwards are worth considering in the months ahead.