Dunga gets it in the neck as Brazil draw 0-0 with Argentina
Brazil coach Dunga came in for it once again as Brazil failed to beat their archenemies Argentina on Wednesday night.
The troubled coach did get some support though from the travelling Argentine fans inside the estádio Mineiro who brandished placards with ‘Stay Dunga’ written on them.
But the pressure is certainly mounting as this was Brazil’s third game in a row without a win, and more worryingly; the third without a goal.
Brazil are now in fourth in the table but could drop to fifth if there is a winner in the match between Venezuela and Chile on Thursday.
Following the criticism levelled at him after the inept display against Paraguay, Dunga made three changes to the starting line-up. In came Anderson, Júlio Baptista and Adriano in place of Josué, Diego and Luís Fabiano.
The match got off to a fairly tepid start as Brazil enjoyed the opening exchanges without really threatening Abbondanzieri in the Argentine goal.
There was, however, plenty of interest for new Inter Milan coach José Mourinho who was in the stands. But he could have been forgiven for nodding off, as the two sides cancelled each other out in the middle of the park.
While Brazil demonstrated a greater willingness to put themselves about than they had against Paraguay, there was still little end product.
The first decent opportunity for either side came 16 minutes in when Julio Cruz headed straight at Brazil keeper, Júlio César
Suddenly, the game livened up with Abbondanzieri having to make a superb one-handed stop to deny Júlio Baptista who looked certain to score.
Robinho then went on a mazy run around Argentina’s area before finally squandering possession – much to the annoyance of the onlooking Adriano.
Argentina had been quiet. Though just before half-time; Messi got away from his markers but fired well off target.
A committed, if not inspired, performance by Brazil was rewarded by a crescendo of boos at the interval – something they are starting to get used to.
The first chance in the second-period fell to the cumbersome Julio Cruz who wasted another great chance after he blazed over from close range.
Brazil responded when Júlio Baptista then tested Abbondanzieri with a long-range free kick.
But as the second-period wore on, Dunga came in for increased flak from many of the fans inside the Mineirão. And they were upset even further when the ineffective Adriano came off for Luís Fabiano around the 70 minute mark.
As it was, the substitute was soon in action setting up Júlio Baptista who spurned yet another opportunity.
With 12 minutes remaining, the time would have been right for the introduction of Alexandre Pato. But Dunga exasperated just about everyone by bringing on right-back Daniel Alves for Diego.
In stoppage time, Messi almost snatched it for Argentina but hammered his shot straight at Júlio César.
Despite calls for his head, one suspects that Dunga would have been secretly happy with the result against one of the world’s toughest teams. But if Brazil fail to beat Chile on 6th September, then Dunga’s time might be up.
Best moments here
Brazil 0-0 Argentina
Stadium: Mineirão, Belo Horizonte (MG), Brazil
Date: 18 June 2008
Referee: Óscar Ruiz (COL)
Assistants: Wilson Berrío (COL) e Rafael Riva (COL)
Brazil: Júlio César, Maicon, Juan, Lúcio, Gilberto; Mineiro, Gilberto Silva, Anderson (Diego) (Daniel Alves), Julio Baptista; Robinho, Adriano (Luis Fabiano)
Argentina: Abbondanzieri, Burdisso, Coloccini, Heinze; Zanetti, Mascherano, Gago, Riquelme (Battaglia), Gutierrez; Messi (Palacio), Cruz (Agüero)
Coach: Alfio Basile