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GRAHAME L. JONES / ON SOCCER
Don't look for beautiful games from Brazil
South Americans are the favorites in South Africa, but Dunga has established that he prefers substance over style, and Ronaldinho probably won't make the cut.
Grahame L. Jones

On Soccer

6:08 PM PDT, May 8, 2010

Here are five things for South African fans to remember when they flock to stadiums in Johannesburg and Durban next month to watch Brazil play in the World Cup:

• This will not be the winning Brazil team of 1958, when a 17-year-old named Pele lit up Sweden with six goals in four games.

• This will not be the winning Brazil team of 1962, when Garrincha, the "little bird" on the wing, dazzled everyone with his dribbling and his goals.

• This will not be the winning Brazil team of 1970, when the cast of magicians in yellow and blue included Pele, Jairzinho, Gerson, Carlos Alberto, Clodoaldo, Rivelino and Tostao.

• This will not be the winning Brazil team of 1994, when Romario and Bebeto "rocked the baby" in their goal celebrations.

• This will not even be the winning Brazil team of 2002, when Ronaldinho's audaciousness, Ronaldo's goals and the wingback play of Cafu and Roberto Carlos enthralled everyone.

But it could be the winning team, again.

In fact, it will be a major surprise if Coach Dunga's Brazil squad is not on the podium July 11 at the Soccer City Stadium receiving the World Cup trophy for the sixth time.

There are other challengers, notably Argentina, Spain, Germany, England, Italy, the Netherlands and, yes, even France, but it is the Brazilians, ranked No. 1 in the world, who bring the real pedigree.

The trouble, however, is that they are not likely to bring the flair, the excitement, the unpredictability, the inventiveness, the passion and the creativity that fans of the Selecao have come to expect.

Dunga has seen to that. He will make sure of it Tuesday when he announces his preliminary roster for the South African adventure. If it does not include Ronaldinho — and it probably will not — Brazil in 2010 will be all about winning and not about entertaining.

Ronaldinho, 30, has done everything but beg to be on the team. This is what he told the Italian gossip magazine Chi last month: "Recently, I have had problems with the national team, but it hasn't been my fault," he said. "I can't imagine a World Cup without Ronaldinho on the field. It seems impossible to me when I think of not playing."

It doesn't seem impossible to Dunga, the no-nonsense defensive midfielder from Brazil's triumphant 1994 side who is now his country's 46-year-old no-nonsense coach. Ronaldinho, a two-time FIFA world player of the year, has not stepped on the field for Brazil since April 2009, when he made his 87th and very likely final appearance.

"You [the media] always want big-name players," Dunga said earlier this year. "But for us there is no such thing as a big name or a small name. We can't create problems for ourselves."

The message — that the team takes precedence — was reinforced when Dunga left Ronaldinho off the squad for a warmup match against Ireland in March. "Pele was once the best player in the world," Dunga said at the time. "I played well once as well. Players come and players go."

Ronaldinho's time, it appears, has gone.

Personality has given way to performance. The artistry that was once the hallmark of Brazil is now secondary. Dunga claims that Brazilian supporters are willing to accept that as the price for winning.

"The fans are buying into our philosophy because the results are there," he said of the team's more controlled style of play, its emphasis on counter-attacking soccer and its pursuit of goals off free kicks and corner kicks.

The approach has succeeded for Dunga, who in South Africa hopes to become only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and then as a coach.

Brazil qualified in first place from South America, compiling a 9-2-7 record and defeating both Argentina in Argentina and Uruguay in Uruguay while doing so. It scored the most goals, 33, and allowed the fewest, 11.

It also won the Copa America in Venezuela in 2007 and the Confederations Cup in South Africa in 2009 and has beaten powers England and Italy in friendly competition.

"We have spent 3 1/2 years building this team and almost everything is clear to us," Dunga said in March. "We have a good team with motivation. There is no reason not to be happy."

It is not the Brazil many people know. But Dunga could perhaps be thinking back to 1982, when Brazil fielded one of its most attractive and entertaining teams but failed to win the World Cup.

In that Spanish summer, the team included the likes of Zico, Socrates, Junior and Falcao, a dazzling array of talent, but it fell to eventual winner Italy in the second round.

Zico's words, spoken years later, still echo.

"I am happy to have been part of a team like that," he told FIFA.com. "People everywhere still remember us. But what matters most to a professional is the title."

That's what Dunga believes, and he is counting on his players to deliver. He has a dependable goalkeeper in Julio Cesar, a trio of top-class defenders in Maicon, Lucio and Juan; an elegant midfielder in Kaka, the creative brain of the team, and a pair of forwards in Robinho and Luis Fabiano to provide the goals.

Brazil will be formidable. Enjoyable is another matter.
 

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Cachorro
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In fact, it will be a major surprise if Coach Dunga's Brazil squad is not on the podium July 11 at the Soccer City Stadium receiving the World Cup trophy for the sixth time.
What nonsense. How can we be such absolute favorites when most our players have had awful seasons? The leftback's up for grabs, Gilberto Silva is considered finished, Felipe Melo won an actual award for how badly he played in Italy, Kaka has been out almost the whole season and some of Madrid's fans already regret having signed him, Luis Fabiano isn't enough of a superstar, Julio Baptista is a donkey sitting in Roma's bench, Robinho and Adriano suck so bad that they returned to Brasil, and so on. And yet we're standout favorites and it will be a "major surprise" if we don't win the WC? How does that make sense??
The trouble, however, is that they are not likely to bring the flair, the excitement, the unpredictability, the inventiveness, the passion and the creativity that fans of the Selecao have come to expect.

Dunga has seen to that. He will make sure of it Tuesday when he announces his preliminary roster for the South African adventure. If it does not include Ronaldinho...
:palm: I love how this guy apparently associates "Ronaldinho = inventiveness, passion and creativity", and not having Ronaldinho in the squad means that we won't have any of those things. It's fascinating because I can't even remember the last time Ronaldinho showed any of those qualities at the NT. I do remember his laziness, lack of commitment and inflated sense of entitlement, though. Not so much with the passion and creativity. :err:

Ronaldinho, 30, has done everything but beg to be on the team.
...except actually deserve it.

This is what he told the Italian gossip magazine Chi last month: "Recently, I have had problems with the national team, but it hasn't been my fault," he said.
Of course it wasn't your fault, Ronaldinho. It's never your fault when you suck. It's those horrible opponents who insist on stealing the ball from you and not allowing you to juggle it during games. If you were allowed to roam freely and unmarked, we're sure you'd bedazzle all of us with your "passion and creativity". You'd control the ball on the back of your head, do a little dance and then make a flamboyant backheel pass to a grateful teammate. But those damn opponents insist on marking you and interrupting your act!! :mad: Some people have NO appreciation for "unpredictability" and "inventiveness". I wonder if the Cirque Du Soleil is hiring?


Above: "inventiveness"

"I can't imagine a World Cup without Ronaldinho on the field. It seems impossible to me when I think of not playing."
Aww, Ronaldinho can't imagine a World Cup without Ronaldinho. Isn't he cute? Hopefully Ronaldinho won't have to imagine it - he'll be able to watch it on TV. ;)
 

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Bernard > Messi
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what a load of bullshit

the guy who wrote this article is a complete idiot

later I'll highlight some of his idiocy in the article.
 

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Bernard > Messi
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ah ok, I just saw:

"latimes.com"

LOL. wont even bother.

I just have to say that Zico is a loser and he is content with his loser mentality. His generation was loved by the press but they were a bunch of losers in the international level. That's the bottom line.

He went to the seleção in 1998 and cut Romário from that world cup and guess what? We lost to france in the final. Loser.

The famous amarelinho de quintino. Fvck him and fvck the other famous amarelinho: amarelinho gaúcho.

Fvck them both.

Dunga have the right to play the way he wants. Hes the coach and he'll be the one blamed/bashed if he doesn't succeed. He needs to play to win and that's it. If the world wants to see clowns just go to the circus. We want to see our team lifting trophies. :proud:

I just don't like the fact that Dunga use players that are on the declining since 3 years ago only because of loyalty, that's why I don't think we'll win but I don't care about playing circus-esque. I care about winning.

PS: Everytime dunga's team face another good team the game was really good. We raped the others big NT with ease. So you should expect beautiful games when we face Portugal and Cost D'Ivorie
 

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Yea, don't bother. The author is obviously the classic US soccer journalist, who thinks Beckham is world class player and thinks that the World Cup will stink if there will be no Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Zidane or Baggio and that Mia Hamm is better player than Lucio, because she scored more goals in her career.
 
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