5 Brazil Players Looking to Impress New Head Coach Dunga vs. Colombia
Brazil face a tough task in getting back to winning ways post-World Cup failure when they face Colombia at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami this weekend.
The Selecao, of course, overcame their South American rivals in the quarter-final stage of that competition before slumping to ignominious defeats to both Germany and the Netherlands. Colombia would argue they were the better side.
Brazil have changed managers, with 2010 World Cup head coach Dunga returning and making multiple changes in his first squad selection, bringing in a group of players who missed out on the World Cup.
Who, then, will be looking to impress in this first opportunity?
Goalkeeper Jefferson has been a long-standing understudy for Brazil, and now, at the age of 31, he looks set to be handed his opportunity to stake a claim to become the new Selecao No. 1.
The Botafogo player is the senior man, with Napoli's Rafael Cabral as his understudy, and he is well respected within the setup, having captained the national team in the past. If Brazil needs leaders, they can count on Jefferson.
He may not be as spectacular a shot-stopper as some of his rivals, but Jefferson offers solidity in his all-round goalkeeping that many of Brazil's leading 'keepers lack. He is a pragmatic choice, but he must now prove that is enough when it comes to games at this level.
Maicon is a lucky man to retain his place following Brazil's World Cup exit, with his 33 years suggesting that he will not be around the setup too much longer.
Even more remarkable is that Dunga now looks set to start the Roma man this weekend, and therefore, it is on Maicon to justify the faith of the returning coach.
Maicon has been excellent since joining Roma last summer, but he has failed to really impress since returning to the Brazil squad. This may well be his final chance to impress with the likes of Danilo and Rafael waiting in the wings.
In a similar boat to Maicon, Ramires is another who has to perform this weekend to justify his continued involvement following a poor World Cup showing.
He has begun the season well at Chelsea, but there is a feeling that the former Cruzeiro player had been poor for both club and country for over a year. Dunga, though, is a fan of his work rate and energy.
The spotlight will be on, though, with Brazil fans keen to see better distribution in midfield areas than has been evident in recent years. Ramires is not that style of player, and it is only through good performances that he will win over those same fans.
In a somewhat controversial call, it appears that Diego Tardelli is set to lead the line against Colombia despite a domestic season in which he has rarely hit top form for Atletico Mineiro.
Besides that, his recent exposure to the No. 9 position has been limited by the presence of Jo at club level—the same player he has replaced in the national team squad.
Brazil's striker woes are well known, and Tardelli is the latest in a long list of uninspiring names to be given a shot at a starting berth. He has two games this week to prove that he is better equipped than those rivals for the task at hand.
Top scorer in the Brasileirao thus far this season with nine goals in 14 games, Ricardo Goulart is set to hit double figures in the top flight for a second consecutive season since joining Cruzeiro.
A bundle of energy with no shortage of talent when it comes to creating and converting shooting opportunities, he has gone from impressive Serie B player to the fringes of the national side in a very short space of time.
He will likely provide back-up to Tardelli for the clash with Colombia and will hope to impress in any opportunity off the bench. If he can, then a starting spot against Ecuador could be his reward.