Heading into the 2006 World Cup with a team loaded to the gills with
talent — Ronaldinho Gaucho, Kaka, Adriano, Ronaldo, Lucio, etc — coach
Carlos Alberto Parreira went with the idea that the star power would
come together and Brazil would once again hoist the World Cup trophy.
Parreira couldn’t have been more wrong as Brazil — which warmed up for
the World’s largest tournament with weak friendlies, including one
against an under-20 team — never seemed in sync and crashed out lamely
against a determined French side.
Changes had to be
made, and they’ve been made fast and furiously. Parreira is out and
Brazil legend Dunga is in. Dunga, who has never previously coached,
helped lead Brazil to the World Cup title in 1994, and is known as a
Pete Rose type of player, sans the gambling issues. He was a player
whose heart made up for any lack of skill, and Brazilians are hoping
he’s the man who puts the heart back into the revered national team.
Dunga himself was
quick to put his stamp on the team, favoring more players who are
based in Brazil. And Dunga did the unthinkable in selecting the
squad that will play Norway on Aug. 16 — he left off Ronaldinho,
Ronaldo, Kaka, Adriano and a host of others, and went with hungrier
young players like Fred, Jonatas, Robinho, Vagner Love and Cruzeiro
It remains to be seen who Dunga will choose when Brazil plays much-hated
rival Argentina on Sept. 2, but the young coach has made his first
statement and made it loudly — if you are planning on putting on the
legendary yellow jersey of Brazil, you had better bring your heart.