Dunga to Give Hint of Intentions with First Brazil Squad Announcement

Robbie Blakeley@@rio_robbieSpecial to Bleacher ReportAugust 19, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 22: Carlos Dunga is introduced as the new coach of the Brazilian national football team during a press conference at the Brazilian Football Confederation - CBF headquarters on July 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The good news is that people will finally stop talking about the unmitigated disaster that was the World Cup semi-final against Germany. Probably.

Later on Tuesday, new Brazil coach Dunga names his first squad since his reappointment. His opening game back in charge is against the Selecao's World Cup quarter-final opponents, Colombia.

Two teams, that, on current form, are headed in polar opposite directions. The Colombians, even without supposed star attraction Radamel Falcao, were one of the star attractions of last month's tournament.

Inspired by their principal conductor, James Rodriguez, the South Americans could have gone even further than the last eight had it not been for some brutal treatment handed out to their No. 10 by the not quite so gracious hosts.

James Rodriguez led Colombia's charge at the FIFA World Cup.
James Rodriguez led Colombia's charge at the FIFA World Cup.Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Dunga's brief is remarkably similar to that of 2006, the first time he was handed quite possibly the most demanding task in world football.

The 1994 World Cup winning captain faces a rebuilding mission. Having been handed the job swiftly following Luiz Felipe Scolari's resignation, the former midfielder has had time to think, to plot and to plan.

Now, with his first squad announcement imminent, we will have a first inkling of his initial conclusions. What does he think about the state of the current crop of players at his disposal?

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There are obvious holes that need filling and Dunga has immediate decisions to make. With the retirements of goalkeeper Julio Cesar and striker Fred, the top and bottom ends of the team remain empty.

Julio Cesar has retired from international football.
Julio Cesar has retired from international football.Martin Rose/Getty Images

Whilst there have been a constant band of names surrounding the No. 1 jersey for a while now, with the likes of Jefferson, Diego Alves and Neto all mooted as potential successors, the feted No. 9 shirt is a different matter.

Such was the success of Ronaldo Fenomeno from the late 1990s up until the middle of the last decade, there are inevitable comparisons between the three-time World Player of the Year and anyone who dares to pull on that number.

Only Luis Fabiano has worn it with any level of consistent success, including a streak of 19 goals in 23 games between 2008 and 2010. What would a manager give for a spearhead with that kind of goalscoring instinct right now, and it must be a source of frustration that Diego Costa, a battering ram of a forward suited to the way Dunga shaped Brazil previously is now leading the line for Spain.

Luis Fabiano has been the only consistent No. 9 for Brazil since Ronaldo Fenomeno.
Luis Fabiano has been the only consistent No. 9 for Brazil since Ronaldo Fenomeno.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Perhaps the most deserving of the No. 9 shirt on current form is Sao Paulo's Alan Kardec.

The 25-year-old forward has netted five goals in his last seven outings and this past weekend became the first player in history to score against all four major Paulista clubs; Sao Paulo, Corinthians and Santos whilst playing for Palmeiras earlier in the season, before netting the winner against his former club for Sao Paulo on Sunday afternoon.

But Dunga is, above all, a pragmatist. There are no magic solutions to the Selecao's current malaise, no time for wistful recollections of what the mind conjures up when the words “Brazil” and “football” are uttered.

Alan Kardec (center) is arguably the most deserving of the No. 9 shirt on current form.
Alan Kardec (center) is arguably the most deserving of the No. 9 shirt on current form.Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

Whereas his initial appointment, back in 2006, may have been seen as somewhat of a gamble, this time the Brazilian Football Confederation knows exactly what it is getting.

This is a job for someone unafraid to make enemies. Dunga proved during his first spell, through his blatant disregard for the country's hugely influential media arm, that he will not have his will bent.

That means right now it is a clean slate.

The friendly with Colombia on September 5 will be intriguing for several reasons. According to R7 Esportes, the crowd expected for the match should be record breaking for Miami (link in Portuguese).

It will see another clash between two of the finest young attackers on the planet, Neymar and James Rodriguez. It will also see the Brazil No. 10 reunited, if that is the right term, with Juan Zuniga, the man who prematurely ended his World Cup adventure with a less-than-subtle knee to the back.

But, above all, it will be the turning over of a new leaf and a chance to forget the horror of Belo Horizonte. And it all starts with Dunga's squad announcement.


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