Dunga's Brazil Win Again vs. Ecuador but Patience Is Required

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor ISeptember 10, 2014

Dunga's new Brazil era continued its steady start against Ecuador, with a second 1-0 victory over South American opponents in the space of just a few days, a much needed tonic after the pain of World Cup exit.

Once again it was a moment of inspiration from the feet of Neymar that helped secure victory, this time providing a deft flicked assist over the defence for Willian to slot home.

In truth, there was little else of quality on display and, following the removal of Oscar and Willian at the interval, Ecuador came strongly into the game and threatened to disrupt Dunga's 100 percent record. Indeed, only an excellent save from Jefferson denied Enner Valencia what appeared to be a certain equaliser.

Brazil had their chances to put a more comfortable complexion on the game with Neymar himself hitting the bar with the goal gaping. Lively substitute Everton Ribeiro, meanwhile, was denied what would have been a sensational first goal for Brazil—a delicate left-footed chip—by the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.

It was moments such as that which Dunga will have been hoping for more of. In his 45-minute cameo, Everton did enough to suggest that he is more than deserving of a place at this level.

Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Marquinhos was another who did himself no harm on the night, making a series of important interventions to ensure that goalkeeper Jefferson was left untroubled for long swathes of the tie. Club colleagues David Luiz and Thiago Silva may complicate his progress, but he is ensuring they will not go unchallenged.

In that sense, the two ties have gone as well as Dunga could have hoped. His side have earned two morale-restoring victories, his new captain Neymar has shown every indication that he will rise to the task and some fringe players have made strong cases for continued involvement.

Now, though, the task is to build a unit capable of beating the world's best sides and that challenge begins in earnest when the Selecao take on Argentina in Beijing next month. A subsequent clash with Japan in Singapore, also, has the potential to be far from straightforward.

Dunga's side looking ahead to next summer's Copa America is beginning to take shape and, indeed, the XI that took the field in the first half once more showed potential. The front four of Neymar, Oscar, Willian and Diego Tardelli offered glimpses of being able to reach the level required.

Ecuador may have been below full strength in the absence of Jefferson Montero and Antonio Valencia among others, but they are still a good side that offer a combination of technical and physical strength that can trouble teams.

In general, bar the few occasions right-back Juan Carlos Paredes escaped as Neymar failed to follow his runs in the second half, Brazil will be content with how they countered a potentially difficult tie.

Brazil were never going to bounce back from their defeats to Germany and the Netherlands with cricket scores and will simply be relieved to be back in winning ways with two clean sheets to their name. Displaying solidity, having fallen apart in July, was always going to be top priority.

Dunga has his methods and, while they may not always be appealing to supporters, he will point to his impressive record with the national side last time around.

He is off to a solid if unspectacular start and attention must now turn to a titanic battle with neighbours Argentina. Only then will he have a better indication of how his new unit are adapting to his methods. It is on the big occasion that Brazil can no longer afford to fall so short.

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