Football

Former Brazil captain Dunga... Brazil are playing

Brazil are playing ugly fooball in stark contrast to the country's philosophy of the Beautiful Game.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's men have been less than impressive in their pedestrian march to the quarter-finals, where they will be meeting a Colombia that have played with the verve and style of the Selecao of old.

Dunga, 50, who managed Brazil at the 2010 World Cup and captained the country to glory at USA 1994, told Marca: "Brazil are winning and in the quarter-finals, which is the most important thing.

"But it is true that their performances have not been consistent and we have not seen the Brazil we all know.

"As long as they are getting through the play-offs, there is time for progress to be made."

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Retired Liverpool star Jamie Carragher, writing in the Daily Mail, also felt Brazil need to improve.

"Brazil need to start playing with their heads and not with their hearts," he said.

He said against Chile, Brazil "looked to be strangled by fear".

They are not the Brazil of old, he wrote in the British daily.

"I know they're not a typical Brazilian team of the past - with all the tricks and samba skills - but the amount of long balls on Saturday evening, along with the lack of organisation defensively, meant they were not too difficult to play against. Colombia will have taken note," he said.

Of the players, only Neymar "has that typical Brazilian X-factor we have seen in their teams over the years," he said.

Dunga feels the same way.

He was full of praise forfor the striker who has scored four goals at the tournament.

Dunga believes the 22-year-old has been given freedom by Scolari, allowing him to shine, reported fourfourtwo.com

"He is very focused, playing well, scoring goals," he said.

"It's very important for a player of his level, not just to play well and create opportunities, but also to finish actions and score goals, that makes the difference.

"There's a big difference between the Neymar of Brazil and that of Barca. Neymar's way is to dribble the ball and go in and attack the opposition, and Barca's is one-touch football.

"So, Neymar in Barcelona, playing the ball, is like any other player. When it comes to the national side, though, Neymar has his freedom and it brings out the creativity he has."


Felipe (Scolari) is using a revolutionary strategy. We're playing without a midfield. Luiz Gustavo plays right back alongside the central defenders, while Oscar and Hulk stay on the wing. That leaves Fernandinho (or whoever) isolated in the middle like Robinson Crusoe, watching the long balls fly past.

- Former Selecao striker Tostao in Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo

World Cup