The Standout Stars in Dunga's New-Look Brazil Team

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor ISeptember 10, 2014

The Standout Stars in Dunga's New-Look Brazil Team

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    Two games, two wins, two goals and two clean sheets. The story of Dunga's second spell as Brazil coach is thus far a simple one, with successes over both Colombia and Ecuador in the United States steadying a ship that had been badly listing.

    New captain Neymar has lead the way for his side, playing a direct role in both strikes that have sealed success thus far, showing little sign of the pressure of the armband weighing too heavily thus far.

    Next up, though, will be a mammoth clash with Argentina in Beijing that threatens to define the early days of Dunga's reign. A similar collapse to those seen at the World Cup will not be tolerated.

    Which players, though, look like taking on key roles in Brazil's brave new era?


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    Having finally stepped up to fill a starting berth with the national side, Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson could not have asked for more than two clean sheets to reinforce his position in Dunga's side.

    There was one scary moment against Ecuador when the 31-year-old dropped what should have been a fairly standard take from a cross, but he more than made amends with a terrific save to deny striker Enner Valencia from a point-blank header minutes later.

    Jefferson will be aware that he has rivals aplenty for the No. 1 shirt, but he can do little else but rack up clean sheets when given the opportunity. He is a wise head in the camp and an occasional captain of the side, all of which plays in his favour.

    If he can only show off his penalty-saving prowess against Argentina, he may just secure the shirt long term.

Filipe Luis

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    The outstanding form of Branislav Ivanovic has not helped Filipe settle into life with new club side Chelsea. However, he is all set to be Dunga's first choice in the left-back berth moving forward.

    What the former Atletico player offers far more so than rivals Marcelo or Alex Sandro is defensive solidity to match his abilities in the attacking half. Against the pace and strength of Ecuador's Renato Ibarra and Junior Sornoza, he did not disappoint on Tuesday night.

    Injuries to Thiago Silva and David Luiz, as well as Maicon's removal from the squad, have thus far hampered Dunga's ability to choose his preferred defensive line as a complete unit. Filipe, though, looks to be in place for the long haul.

    Former club-colleague Miranda, meanwhile, has done his chances of earning a centre-back berth little harm over the course of the two games.


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    It is little surprise, given what we already knew of Dunga's preference for a counterattacking style, that Chelsea star Ramires already looks to be taking an increased role in the new Brazil side.

    The former Cruzeiro man had a poor World Cup and there are many who would happily have seen him cast aside for the time being.

    Dunga, though, has trusted Ramires to deliver and, indeed, his energy and dynamism have been key facets of the selecao's play in their two victories thus far.

    Brazil has numerous box-to-box-style midfielders to choose from, but few offer quite the stamina of Ramires. For now, he is doing enough to keep the likes of Fernandinho, Elias and Paulinho at bay.


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    While Oscar remains hugely influential to the side, often playing as the most advanced player in central areas, teammate Willian is perhaps even more important to what Dunga is trying to achieve.

    The deepest of the attacking unit, tucked in on the right side, Willian is effectively the link between the two central midfielders and the forwards. Without him, attacking options would be severely limited.

    In defence, also, he tucks in to form a trio in the centre of the park, showing the discipline that has made him a firm favourite of manager Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. His pace in transition is then a major asset.

    A goal against Ecuador only further adds to his status and it appears Willian is set to be in and around the starting lineup for some time yet.


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    Only recently recovered from the injury that ended his World Cup early, there were fears that Dunga's decision to hand Neymar the captain's armband could prove too much for the 22-year-old. Think again.

    Neymar has an extraordinary knack of rising to any challenge when in a Brazil shirt and has begun life as captain in fine style, scoring against Colombia before assisting Willian's effort against Ecuador.

    Playing from the left of a quick and dynamic front four, he has plentiful movement around him which in turn opens up space in which he can thrive. Thus far, he looks to be enjoying the freedom created.

    But for an astonishing miss with the goal gaping on Tuesday night, he could have added to his tally with a goal against Ecuador. Instead, he was left to rue his error with the crossbar well and truly rattled.