Dunga heading for dustbin as Paraguay trash Brazil
Brazil and in particular, coach Dunga, are set to feel the wrath of their fellow country men and women after the 2×0 loss to Paraguay in Asuncion on Sunday.
Goals from Roque Santa Cruz and Cabañas did the damage but Brazil looked clueless for most of the match and failed to make any impression even when Paraguay went down to ten men just after the start of the second-half.
The result leaves Brazil 4th in the table and the situation could get worse when they face archrivals Argentina on Wednesday evening.
The signs that Brazil might be in for a rough ride were there even before the game got underway. Not to take anything from Canada and Venezuela, but Brazil failed to perform in the recent friendlies. During the build up to the Paraguay game, the signals coming out of the Brazil camp indicated that they were concerned about the group leaders. This apprehension became even more apparent throughout the match and as one TV commentator put it, ‘Brazil now have the mentality of a small team’.
Accordingly, Dunga set his stall out with three defensive midfielders. Without the injured Kaká, Diego was asked to be Brazil’s sole talent in the middle of the park. But it was clear from the start that creating chances would be a problem.
Diego sat too deep and Robinho and Luis Fabiano were isolated up front.
As the game wore on, it became abundantly clear just how much Brazil struggle without Kaká to drive them on from midfield.
23 minutes in, Paraguay came close to opening the scoring when Cabañas beat Brazil keeper Júlio César only to hit the post.
But the breakthrough wasn’t long in coming as Brazil’s frailties at the back were exposed once again. Paraguay won a corner and as Brazil stood watching, Blackburn Rover’s Roque Santa Cruz slipped in at the far post to give his side the lead.
Not for the first time in recent games, Lúcio was caught napping and Brazil have to find a replacement for him without delay. But the central defender was not the only player at fault and the team need more cover than Tottenham’s Gilberto can provide on the left.
Brazil continued to look lost and failed to create any real chances in the first-half leaving Paraguay keeper Justo Villar with virtually nothing to do.
Dunga was forced to make changes and Anderson came on for Josué after the interval.
But a slice of fortune appeared to swing the game Brazil’s way when Verón received his second yellow just two minutes into the second-half.
However, Brazil’s joy was short-lived. A minute later, Paraguay launched a two-man counter-attack. Santa Cruz broke down the left and despite the numerical superiority of three defenders plus Júlio César, Brazil failed to clear their lines and Cabañas struck to make it 2×0.
Brazil were shell-shocked and could do nothing to get near Villar’s goal.
Paraguay though, were finding it a little easier. After more slapstick defending by Brazil, Cabañas hit the post again. Dunga’s team couldn’t get the ball away but fortunately for Brazil, Maicon was there to clear off the line.
Dunga made more changes bringing on Adriano for Mineiro and Julio Baptista on for Diego but Paraguay remained unimpressed.
It wasn’t until the 74th minute that Brazil created their first opportunity of the second-period when Anderson stung the keeper’s hands.
The Manchester United man had another chance late on but Brazil sloped off at full-time well and truly demoralised.
Surely now, Dunga’s experiment (if that’s what it is) with defensive football is over. While it’s true that his players haven’t performed, it is the coach’s ethos that has dragged Brazil down to everyone else’s level.
Under Dunga, the strut we all associate with Brazil has gone and confidence has deserted the team.
Brazil’s situation is lamentable but not irreparable. However, the immediate concern is this: if Venezuela and Paraguay can outfight and outplay Brazil, what will Argentina do to them when they meet in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday evening?
See the best moments here
Paraguay 2×0 Brazil
Paraguay: Justo Villar; Verón, Julio Cáceres, Paulo da Silva, Caniza; Edgar Barreto, Enrique Vera, Jonathan Santana; Haedo (Victor Cáceres), Cabañas (Torres), Roque Santa Cruz (Cardozo).
Coach: Gerardo Martino
Brazil: Júlio César, Maicon, Juan, Lúcio, Gilberto; Mineiro (Adriano), Josué (Anderson), Gilberto Silva, Diego (Julio Baptista); Robinho, Luis Fabiano.
Goals: Roque Santa Cruz, Cabañas
Bookings: Verón (P), Juan (B). Red: Verón (P)
Stadium: Defensores del Chaco, Assunção, Paraguay
Officials: Jorge Larrionda (URU). Ass: Pablo Fandiño (URU), Mauricio Espinoza (URU).