Awesome foursome for Neymar and Brazil
(Neymar 18, 48, 77, 81)
The crowd could sense it when the silky Kaka broke into the Japan half.
They shifted to the edge of their seats when he exchanged passes with Robinho - five of them, and were already on their feet as the ball floated, almost in slow-motion, to the far post.
The National Stadium erupted - even before the ball nestled at the back of the net off Neymar's head - and its foundations were still shaking with excitement minutes after that.
Brazil beat Japan 4-0 last night, with that 81st-minute goal the fourth on the night for Selecao's superstar.
It was samba at its sublime best and Singapore paid tribute.
To Kaka and Robinho for a flowing move that harked back to the golden age of the famed yellow jersey, and to Neymar for a four-goal performance that saw him score with his left foot, his right foot (twice) and his head - the last was his 40th goal for Brazil at the tender age of 22.
Dunga should also take a bow.
Eighty per cent of Brazilians did not want him to take the reins of the Selecao after July's World Cup, despite a record of 42 wins and only six losses when he was last coach of Brazil from 2006 to 2010.
They don't like him because they think his players become more brutes than ballerinas, they defend more than dance - a style that is an affront to the religion that football is to Brazil.
But, yesterday, Dunga showed he could find balance - between discipline and daring; between the stout adherence to duty personified by Elias in defensive midfield, and Neymar's free-spirited search for goals.
"We've worked hard to play well and show our supporters that we're on the right track... and we've won these last two games, and shown that we are going the right way," said the former Brazil captain, who did acknowledge that Japan made several changes to their starting 11.
But this wasn't the Dunga of the past.
The one who refused to call up players who excite, the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaka and even a younger Neymar - whom he famously criticised for focusing on marketing more than football.
That Neymar is now his captain - and flourishing.
"He's our new captain, and he's enjoying his football, and he's playing like he plays when he's with his friends," said Dunga yesterday.
Words that don't match his drill-sergeant crew cut and armoured-plated skin.
Yesterday, Dunga's Brazil were stout and no-nonsense in defence, with Miranda and Filipe Luis turning in resolute performances. They had Luiz Gustavo and Elias patrolling the midfield - and a host of attacking talent up front, from Oscar to Willian, Kaka, Robinho and even Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, at various points in the game.
And it worked.
There could be more to come from this new-look Brazil, with Dunga refusing to decide on just one way of playing.
"If necessary, we will repeat (this strategy of using Kaka, Robinho and Neymar playing together), but we will try new ideas," he said.
Brazil are still under the dark cloud that formed at Belo Horizonte, where they were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in July's World Cup semi-final but, in this Dunga, maybe they have found the right man to drag them back into the light.
"I was very fond of the planning and organisation of Germany," said Dunga, when he took over after the World Cup.
"We are going to find our new path among that. We should be adding personality with that kind of planning."
With the irrepressible Neymar leading the line, Dunga has that "Brazilian" personality to go with his own.
In Singapore last night, he showed that Brazil are indeed on the new path he has envisioned.
Dunga wants players to fight for their places
TAKE A BOW: So far, Dunga (above) looks the right man to rebuild Brazil. PHOTO: JEREMY LEE / ACTION IMAGES
His team were in complete control, scored four goals and walked off to a standing ovation at the National Stadium after teaching Japan a football lesson.
Brazil ran out deserved 4-0 winners last night, but Dunga was not beaming when he walked into the post-match press conference.
In fact, he hardly smiled.
The Brazil coach knows the road to redemption for the Selecao is a long one as he tries to lift the gloom over a nation that was hurt so badly by the 7-1 semi-final defeat by Germany at the World Cup.
"Not only Neymar, the whole team also did very well," said Dunga.
"The quality of the pitch was bad, but we had to play anyway and, of course, if we had better conditions, we could have put on a more beautiful spectacle.
"But we are looking to the future, and we haven't decided what we are going to do, yet."
Brazil will face Turkey and Austria next month, and Dunga is already warning players not to take their places for granted, despite beating Argentina 2-0 and now Japan 4-0.
With the Austria game clashing with domestic league fixtures in Brazil, he may be forced to give others a chance.
"I like what all the players did today, (but I also) like to try different things," said the 1994 World Cup-winning Brazil captain.
"In Brazil, empty seats in the national team will be taken up by other players who will not want to give up that seat."
Dunga said that he would keep an open mind about the strategies of deployment of his lieutenants in the battlefield.
He started with a strong attacking line-up last night, with Chelsea duo Oscar and Willian playing alongside Neymar and Diego Tardelli.
In the second half, he threw on the likes of veterans Robinho, Kaka and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho.
He said: "If we need to repeat (this strategy), we will, but we will also put in new ideas."
"Not only Neymar, the whole team also did very well. The quality of the pitch was bad, but we had to play anyway and, of course, if we had better conditions, we could have put on a more beautiful spectacle."
- Brazil coach Dunga