6 Potential Answers to Dunga's Brazil Crisis
The coverage of Brazil’s shortcomings, not only at this Copa America but in the strength in depth of their current options, has been extensive since defeat against Paraguay last weekend.
Argentina’s subsequent 6-1 demolition of their neighbours on Tuesday evening served only to highlight even further the amount of work that lies ahead of Dunga if he is to lead Brazil’s charge back to the upper echelons of the international game.
What has so far been established is that changes in personnel are required. Yet what good is there in establishing the root of a problem without offering a viable solution?
Here, Bleacher Report examines a few potential options for the Brazil boss to ponder before World Cup qualifying kicks off in October.
The Goias stopper has arguably been the most consistent performer in the Campeonato Brasileiro between the sticks for the last season or so. At 30 years old, he is no spring chicken, but goalkeepers, in stark contrast to outfield players, tend to peak far later in their careers. Arsenal’s recent signing of a 33-year-old Petr Cech and Manchester United’s capture of then-34-year-old Edwin van der Sar in 2005 are testament to that fact.
If Dunga decides to test options other than Jefferson, now plying his trade in the second tier of Brazilian club football, the stocky man at Serra Dourada would not be a bad bet.
One of the brightest young talents coming off the production line, Marlon is a potential long-term successor to Miranda and Thiago Silva. Standing over 6' tall, he is already an imposing presence and, more importantly, looks more than comfortable with the ball at his feet.
The 19-year-old featured four times for Brazil at the recent Under-20 World Cup and—with the rumoured impending sale of Kenedy to Chelsea, as reported by the Daily Mail, and a reported bid from Juventus for Gerson, per Football Italia—could be the next top-quality youngster to leave Laranjeiras for the Old Continent in a matter of months.
Club: Atletico Madrid (on loan from Sao Paulo)
Position: Holding midfield
Without doubt, one of Dunga’s biggest errors at the Copa America was his failure to find an adequate replacement for the injured Luiz Gustavo. The decision to first shift Fernandinho across and then experiment with David Luiz in that role during the closing stages of the final group game against Venezuela never gave a balanced look to the midfield. As a result, the side’s productivity suffered.
In Rodrigo Caio, Dunga has a player whose ability in the air and strength in the tackle have shown to be top draw in Brazil. Recently loaned to Atletico Madrid, the 21-year-old now has a chance to prove himself in one of Europe’s top leagues and could earn himself a national call-up before too long.
As previously documented, the midfield and its lack of solidity and subsequent failure to create a consistent stream of opportunities was Brazil's biggest failure at the Copa America. At 29, you have to feel that Elias is running out of chances.
And while Fred may still have his future ahead of him, over at his old club Internacional there is another youngster bursting with potential. Twenty-year-old Valdivia has looked a true talent since breaking into the first team at the Beira-Rio.
Bags of energy and the ability to break from deep and pop up in the right areas to find the back of the net, the youngster already has three goals to his name this season. Add to that his ability to pick a pass and regular service to the front line could be restored with the youngster's presence.
Club: Atletico Mineiro
One of the strongest areas Brazil have at the moment is in the attacking area behind the forward. Neymar, Willian, Philippe Coutinho, Oscar, Everton Ribeiro, Ricardo Goulart and Lucas Moura are but a few of the names capable of occupying one of those roles for the Selecao.
Back in the homeland, Luan, the 24-year-old, offers something slightly different. The short and stocky forward is built, and indeed plays, like a rabid bulldog, hustling, bustling and not allowing opposition defences time to dwell and move the ball out of their third at their own pace.
Add to the equation his propensity for dangerous shots from distance and the Atletico front man could add another, more direct and aggressive dimension, to Dunga’s front line.
Club: Sao Paulo
OK, so Fred’s World Cup was an absolute disaster, his isolated position at the top of the attacking shape leaving him isolated and his team-mates at a significant disadvantage. But it is a system that can, and has, worked well in the past, and Alan Kardec could prove a worthwhile ace in the hole rather than a primary plan of attack.
Faster and more mobile than Fred, the No. 9 is a more consistent finisher than either Diego Tardelli or Roberto Firmino, who both endured an extremely disappointing Copa America tournament. In the same way as Douglas Costa was used in Chile, Kardec could be an option off the bench when backs are against the wall.