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Dunga delights in efficient Brazil

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Jonathan Stevenson | 11:01 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

When Dunga held the World Cup trophy aloft as Brazil captain at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on 17 July 1994, it was to the soundtrack of a stream of expletives he was busy hurling in the direction of his country's press.

Dunga - and the team he had captained to glory - had been castigated by the Brazilian media for the negative way in which they had played their football throughout the tournament. In his eyes, winning the trophy justified the means.

His view was not shared by many of his countrymen, either before or after the tournament. They may have won the cup, but it was not how the Brazilians wanted to win it. There was a feeling that Brazil should aspire to more than winning at any cost, at least in the footballing sense.

Fast forward 16 years to this World Cup and it seems Dunga is at it again.

On a curiously cold night in Johannesburg, after watching Portugal and Ivory Coast play out a tame goalless draw and with the tournament desperately needing to spring into life, it seemed as though Brazil's arrival had been timed to perfection.

Forget the perfectly round ball doing imperfect things and the endless debate about vuvuzelas, empty stadiums and transport problems, the five-time champions were here to spread a little sunshine and get the party started.

Only if that was the supposed script, Dunga was not one of its writers. Far from warming the hearts of the freezing masses, his team's performance only gave us another reason to worry about the fate of this World Cup and whether it is ever going to rise out of the mediocrity it appears to have become entrenched in.

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Highlights - Brazil beat North Korea 2-1

It is a big worry that Brazil appear to have come to South Africa simply to win and not entertain. And they might just pull it off. With no-one apart from Germany showing any real quality in the tournament thus far, Dunga will feel his disciplined, unadventurous team has the same chance to take the prize as they did in 1994. If they do not even have to play well to win it, then all the better.

You could even argue that North Korea - ranked 105th in the world - showed as much attacking invention and willingness to get forward as their far more illustrious opponents, the world's number one team.

Time and time again, their tireless number nine Jong Tae-Se threatened the Brazilian backline, linking up with scorer and midfield runner Ji Yun-Nam and giving Lucio and Juan a severe test.

It would have been an upset to rival anything this great competition has mustered had North Korea gone on and won the game. But at least their willingness to have a go when up against the greatest footballing nation on earth made up for the disappointment at seeing such an insipid display from the Samba Kings.

I saw more Honduras supporters outside Ellis Park than North Koreans. But once inside the happy band of North Korean cheerleaders soon became the focus of everyone's attention as, sitting just below the press box, they sang rhythmically and clapped wooden blocks together to let their brave boys know they were there.

Not that anyone back home in Pyongyang is likely to find out. No North Korean journalists were at Ellis Park, while Kim Jong-Il's government has the power to decide whether or not to broadcast any of the World Cup games to the public.

It would be a shame if the North Korean population did not get to see how good their players are and how much it means to them to play for their country. What a contrast there was between the cold, single-minded focus of Dunga and the outpouring of emotion from North Korea striker Jong, who burst into tears during his country's national anthem.

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Battle of Brazil right-backs - Maicon v Josimar

Such sentiment is not for the Brazil boss.

"We have to have quality in attack and defend with efficiency," said the 46-year-old after seeing his side move to within one win of the last 16. "In the first half, we didn't play well. We weren't moving the ball quickly enough. In the second half, it got better but every team has to be efficient during the World Cup."

It is Dunga's constant use of words like "efficient" that so infuriates people back in Brazil who dream of joga bonito and the halcyon days of Garrincha, Pele, Zico, Socrates and all the rest.

But this is not an Eric Cantona advert, it is the World Cup - and Dunga is here to win it. His battles with Brazil's media are already legendary but he will be willing to engage in plenty more confrontations over the next few weeks if he gets to take the trophy back home.

The slogan Lotado! O Brasil inteiro esta aqui Dentro! (The whole of Brazil is in here!) decorates the side of Brazil's team bus in South Africa. It probably already feels like that for the coach with the greatest weight of expectation on his shoulders.


  • Comment number 1.

    Why do you feel the need to comment on the political situation in North Korea? There are some interesting political situations in many other countries in the World cup [including England] but not a word about those. Either be even-handed or stick to football, please.

  • Comment number 2.

    Brazil are always well over-hyped by the worlds much so that most countries expect to lose against them before stepping foot on the pitch and most sit back and let them play. They fear them like the Germans, you just don't expect to get anything from the game and just look at their other two fixtures. Ofcourse they do always unearth some excellent players like Kaka and Robinho - but even they often flatter to decieve.

    Out of a football mad country with nearly 200m people you're bound to find a few that can play a bit, but they haven't played that swaggering beautiful footie since '82...'86 at a push.

    You are right they could still win it with Dunga's leadership like in US'94 and J/K'02 through 'efficient football' just like the Germans, but don't pretend we are still watching 'Samba''s just not there anymore.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done the North Korean's - at least they made a game of it. Brazil were ok last night, nothing really spectacular, but hey, it was their first game. I think they will get a lot better. I liked Dunga's impersonation of a merchant seaman.

    Oh, that first goal was a fluke not a bit of Brazilian magic.

  • Comment number 4.

    @ 1988vale2spurs1, what planet are you on? North Korea's political situation isn't remotely comparable to England's or anywhere's really. It's definitely worth commenting on.

  • Comment number 5.

    "Why do you feel the need to comment on the political situation in North Korea? There are some interesting political situations in many other countries in the World cup [including England] but not a word about those. Either be even-handed or stick to football, please."

    Why are you so sensitive about? There is nothing wrong with commenting on it at all we could easily bring your argument into any article and say why are you commenting on x y z?

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done North Korea. But this world cup is shaping up to be the worst i've ever watched, this ball is killing the game. Forget about the keepers problems, no one seems to be able to control the thing! Not one on-target free kick i can remember, quick 2 touch passing football? NOPE. even close control has become dificult because its boucing off the payers to far. A real shame that FIFA can't stand against Adidas and replace it with a normal ball, not a "rounder" or "lighter" ball designed as a marketing product rarther than desingned to play with.

  • Comment number 7.

    Brazil's performance was typical of what has been a fairly disappointing tournament so far. North Korea however, deserve a great deal of credit.

  • Comment number 8.

    you have GOT to love this song - most memorable part of the world cup so far! guarantee you will love it

  • Comment number 9.

    Goooo Korea, they showed heart. And played the game the best they could. I hope the go far and become the surprise of this world cup.

  • Comment number 10.

    Another team with great hype failing to live up to expectations in their first game. Brazil looked somewhat short of fire-power in the final third - Kaka looks short of form and fitness, and they look to be short of a goal scorer or a threat from central midfield. Robinho and Elano looked threatening from the wide positions and Maicon is undoubtedly a talent, but there looked to be something of a lack of the magic that will be needed to break down defensive-minded opponents.

    In the modern game, where almost all the top players are based in Europe, and are familiar with each other from their domestic leagues and Champion's League, the legendary Brazilian flair has been undermined. Now all the top players are firstly inclined to win at all costs, with entertainment only a secondary consideration, even for those in the famous yellow shirts of Brazil.

  • Comment number 11.

    Am I the only person who is actually enjoying this World Cup? Every journo's blog that I've read so far seems to suggest that the current WC is a disappointment, and a high-scoring game is required for the tournament to "spring into life", as JS puts it.

    Personally, I'd rather see a competitive game, like the N. Korea vs. Brazil match last night, rather than watch one of the favourites thrash a team of relative minnows. The stalemate of the first half was mostly down to the Korean's defensive organsiation, and an impressive level effort and spirit. As the game wore on, North Korea visibly tired and the game grew more open, and Brazil scored two very good goals (although whether one was a fluke is the subject of some discussion). To top it off, North Korea didn't give up, despite their obvious tiredness, and got a thoroughly deserved goal of their own.

    So, in summary, a very good game. I say stop worrying about the average number of goals per game, and enjoy what's on offer!

    (Also, is it me, or does Stevo's mugshot make him look like the main character from the 'Lesiure Suit Larry' video games of the early '90s?)

  • Comment number 12.

    1988vale2spurs1 - maybe he decided to comment on the political situation as it was directly related to football - i.e the broadcasting of the match - and oh yeah!, the article was about Brazil vs... North Korea.

  • Comment number 13.

    Jonathan, what coaches have realised all over the world is that wining is everything to their careers. They could manage a team and play all the beautiful football, but where they dont win anything, they are bound to find themselves in the job market, with the exception of one manager - Arsene Wenger, and it beggers belief how he is still in a job with his failures on the field (maybe the board are not true footballing people as they may just be satisfied with their dividends).
    Brazil are my pick to win the wc and this is due to Dunga's approach. Their nearest competion are Spain, Holland, and Argetina, but when i look at the setup of these teams, they all have great players in both the midfield and attack. Where the other teams could be found wanting, are in defence, of which Brazil have the most experienced players.
    Watching this Brazillian team at last years confederations cup and the qualifiers only adds more prudence to my argument. Spain(likewise Holland) had a brilliant qualification campaign, but at the confed cup, team USA exposed Spains' weakness which is coping with a team that has fast runners (England did a better job i must say). We've seen this at league level, the stronger teams tend to build their attack mostly from the defence (ManU, Chelsea, Inter, Bayern) and its proven to work many atimes.
    Brazil will only grow confident in this tournament, and though we may not see many goals from this team, we will see "efficient" football which wiil be not so disatorous to the eye. They have the talent that could break down any defence in the competition as we saw over North Korea (who tried to park the bus)

  • Comment number 14.

    "On a curiously cold night in Johannesburg"

    What was curious about the cold? We are less than a week away from the shortest day of the year - i.e. mid-winter in South Africa - Joburg is at altitude and some 600kms from the sea, with a game starting at 8.30pm.

    Often, and often fairly, us Saffers are accused of being parochial and naive - but if you lot haven't yet figured it does get cold in SA, and actually, winter nights in Joburg are guaranteed to be cold, there's not much hope. (Ps. Same goes for Pretoria, for whoever is covering SA-Uruguay tonight.)

    Can't say I felt it easy to warm to North Korea. Obviously their players are giving it there all, but the country is a real problem. Again, with a Saffer hat on, we were quite justifiably excluded from international sport for several years. We should at least be asking the question whether the same should be true of North Korea.

    Given the way both Group G matches went yesterday, I guess we now face the prospect that Brazil's next two matches will be quite forgettable...

  • Comment number 15.

    It is always amusing to read about expectations of jogo bonito and futebol arte from those whose representative national squads have never attempted to play anything remotely like the beautiful game.

    Take England as an example. 44 years of insipid, monotonous football since winning on home soil. Why should we not expect expect of a top ten footballing nation (despite any significant results since the 1960s) that they put extraordinary, gifted footballers who play like Brasil70 or Santana's Brasil in the early 80's?

    Dunga's approach to football and his squad selections are criticized heavily in Brazil. But there are many who also understand the predicament of Brazilian football and want to avoid the mistakes of 2006.

  • Comment number 16.

    The only decent team I've seen so far is Argentina. I was hoping for some magic from Kaka, but he looks past it at only 28, gone is the speed and the mazy runs of 3 years ago.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think that people are getting a little overexcited about North Korea's performance last night. They defended with a lot of energy but against a really lacklustre and lethargic Brazil team. As for NK's attacking football this seemed to consist of running straight into Brazil's midfield not knowing how to pass the ball and immediately losing posession, it was like watching the under 9's attack at your local primary school. Technically they were woeful as well. Jong Tae-se seemed completely incapable of trapping the ball and gave it away almost every time he touched it. Brazil's first goal had a touch of fortune about it but came mainly from bad positioning of the keeper who clearly has had no technical training. I haven't seen a goal go in at the keeper's near post for as long as I can remember, he left a huge gap, and either luck or skill exploited that.

    I say this as I think the match says more about Brazil's failings, they don't look strong enough to me to play the samba football everyone wants, so Dunga is probably correct in his tactics. Kaka was mainly anonymous, Bastos continues the tradition of Brazilian left backs who shoot ridiculously inaccurately from open play or free kicks 99% of the time, Fabiano looks way off the pace, Gilberto is past it. For me they only have two outstanding outfield players who are in form and they both play in the same position (Maicon and Alves)! The fact that they laboured against, for me, a very poor team, indicates that they will not win this competition.

  • Comment number 18.

    dummy_half - agree. Kaka is easily one of the greatest players on earth, but he's nowhere near fully fit and went missing for long spells in a game he really should be dictating.

    But there are Brazilian players with a bit more flair around. What about Ronaldinho? Is he really not good enough to have earned a place in that 23-man squad after a much improved season at AC Milan? I find that hard to believe.

    But bdyke04 is right - winning is everything, especially to a coach like Dunga. That's why people like watching Arsenal, Barcelona and Spain, because they offer us something different.

  • Comment number 19.

    no. 11 Dostioffski

    I completely agree. I am enjoying this WC, though the goals haven't been flowing. I think it's due to the fact that finally, Asia and Africa have improved their technical ability to the level of South America and Europe.

    Judging by the 1st round, perhaps we are in for a lot more penalty shoot-outs in the knock-out stages.

  • Comment number 20.

    North Korean No.9 - Jong Tae-Se

    The People's Rooney
    Cried through emotion and passion at representing his country at the World Cup whilst listening to his national anthem
    Consistently skinned Maicon, and regularly brought others in his team into play, getting an assist
    Got a huge cut on his knee, clearly injured and struggling, but continued to show his fine form and ability whilst in clear distress and pain

    The man is a complete hero!

  • Comment number 21.


    Were we watching the same game?! I didn't see him beat Maicon once. How many shots on target did NK have? In fact how many times did Julio Cesar actually touch the ball in entire match apart from picking it out of his net after the one shot on target NK had? I did admire their work rate but seriously, they really didn't have any technical nouse or ability.

  • Comment number 22.

    Stevo, excellent contrarian article. I firmly belong to the camp that this Brazilian team is overrated. It neither has the zuzu of the 1982 team nor the the steel of the 1994 team to prevail over the tournament. Besides this team probably has only 1 player who is not only truly great, but also fully fit and in great form in Maicon. Others like Kaka & Cesar aren't fit, while Elano and Robinho aren't good enough to play for City (nuf said). I for one am betting against this Brazilian team winning the cup. Semifinals would be an achievement.

  • Comment number 23.

    When I see Jong Tae-Se cry and the Italian team perform a full-throated rendition of their anthem to a man, I am ashamed of the england team who looked disinterested or lip sync'ed half heartedly ahead of the US game. I am afraid that our team doesn't have the heart to do justice to their talent. Most are likely looking at this as an opportunity to showcase their talents and get a few extra bucks out of the next club transfer except perhaps Rooney.

  • Comment number 24.

    It was moving to see Jon Tae-Se cry, such is his love of a homeland that has allowed millions of it's own people to starve, uses humans for live experiments, runs death camps and is generally pretty comparable to the Nazis.

    While they clearly have a decent team, why is such a country allowed at the world cup? Surely their record on human rights is far worse than even South Africa's was under Apartheid, and they were banned for decades?

  • Comment number 25.

    #1 1988vale2spurs1

    Please don't compare the UK and "Democratic" North Korea.

    it is relevant to discuss the political situation as FIFA mandates that each national FA is independent from the government. Does anyone believe that is the case for North Korea? If not they should'nt be there regardless how plucky the team are.

  • Comment number 26.

    Good article.

    However the difference between watching a team like England & brazil is that you always feel that Brazil can score when they need to. They look confident and we know there is more to come.

    North korea gave a good account of themselves but can they keep it up?

  • Comment number 27.

    I didn't see it was poor game, from either side. Especially the second half. Agreed Kaka was not at his flowing best but that was down to good marking. Robinho was electric and tireles, so was Elano. Second half the were executing ideas every minute.

    I do not agree Maicon goal was a fluke. It was a beauty after a great pass and an inspired hot run on the wide wing. He miraculously shot into goal from the acutest of angles, merely a foot short off the end line. Completely fooled the keeper who expected a back pass from that acute. The ball seemed to bend between the keeper and the upright and sink into the netting. For the ball to go between the keeper and the goalpost from that angle is a rare sight.

    Winning has to be uppermost. If you can do it playing beautiful footy, so good. There are no prizes for being artistic for the sake of it. Ask Wenger.

    I do believe NK did enough to send out a promise of progressing. Portugal and Cote D'Ivoire will be hard put to stop the DPRK.

  • Comment number 28.

    #24 Sleepingpurs wrote: It was moving to see Jon Tae-Se cry.

    I thought for a moment you were talking about the Chelsea and ex-England captain ;)

  • Comment number 29.

    #28 JoC

    Don't be silly you need a soul to cry

  • Comment number 30.

    Comparing N. Korea to anyone else on the planet is ridiculous. Did you watch England play? Are you going to watch on Friday? Nuf said muppet...

  • Comment number 31.

    I find it strange that some of you cannot understand that one can love his or her homeland without supporting its regime. North Korea has a terrible, brutal regime in place but does this mean you cannot love your country and the people that live there?

    Were Americans who despised Bush supposed to stop caring for their country?

    Lots of countries commit human right abuses - some of them we even call allies. While none of them are as bad as North Korea once you start banning one where do you stop?

    And of course, any sport ban only hurts the young athletes and not the regime. Kim Jong-il is only interested in keeping himself in power and is not going to be bothered by a football tournament too much.

  • Comment number 32.


    Whats the players Government got to do with his feelings?? If an Englishman were to show some emotion would he be frowned upon for a lack of 'stiff upper lip syndrome'?? And bear in mind your comments come less than 24 hours after the British Governments enquiry to the murder of 14 British citizens on British streets by the British army.!!!

    Stick to the football topic of a football blog

  • Comment number 33.

    I suspect the Dear Leader ordered the NK player to cry. An extra bowl of kimchi when he gets home. Of course the thought of NK as home would cause many to sob.

    As for the game; Once again it is proven that if you place enough defenders in front of the goal the opponents will have difficulty scoring.

  • Comment number 34.

    Dunga has few admirers in Brazil and winning at any cost is not how Brazilians want their team to perform. The noise of the vuvuwhateveryoucallthem drowned out the Brazilian fans´ discontent and boos in the first half.

    One of the biggest cheers was when an advert appeared in the stadium featuring two of the exciting young talents Dunga left behind – Ganso and Neymar of Santos. They both play alongside Robinho who was one of the few Brazilians who showed some class and style against N. Korea.

    By the way Dunga is a “gaucho” i.e. from the south where the people have a reputation of being stubborn so don´t expect any changes or explanations from him. His favourite target is always the media.

    His predecessor, Felipe Scolari, was also a tough gaucho but had plenty of flair. He is now back in Brazil as new manager of Palmeiras. I would not be surprised if he became manager of the national team again when Dunga is given the boot.

  • Comment number 35.

    #31 dalpengi

    2 points

    1. You legitimise a nation by allowing it to take part in world events like the World Cup- a subsection to this point is it’s an existing FIFA rule and they have threatened to ban other (much more moderate) nations when the government has dictated to their FA.
    2. Most North Koreans can’t support there team unless the regime allows them to.

    The FIFA rules have been bent for North Korea when they wouldn't have been for more moderate nations.

  • Comment number 36.

    Great World Cup. We (England) have a chance if we get the breaks. Chance of the final, I mean. That's all I ask - a final with us in it. Don't then care if we win or lose.

  • Comment number 37.

    #35 Vincent
    It's not for FIFA to judge a nation on its human rights status and it's not for FIFA to legitimise a government or comment on whether it has a mandate to govern. The rule you refer is to keep politics out of football (exactly the opposite of what you want it to do) - though I admit that rule by FIFA has often negative side-effects (for example where a democratically elected government wants to deal with a corrupt FA e.g. Poland).

  • Comment number 38.

    Jong Tese is a product of Chongryon though. I would expect him to burst out crying like that. He's a North Korean nationalist born and raised in Japan but put through the North Korean education system that exists here in Japan since the end of the second world war. He's probably more of staunch North Korean than most of his counterparts seeing as he didn't have to grow up in such poor conditions as many of his teammates have. Of course he loves the dear leader so much. He's learned all the wonders of Juche without ever experiencing what its actual effect has been.

    Most 'North Koreans' in Japan were Koreans who remained here after the war and took up North Korean citizenship when the country was split into two. Players like Jong Tese and An Yong-Hak are tenuously North Korean at best.

    And before anyone leaps into my comments. Let me tell you this. I am Kawasaki Frontale fan and Jong is one of my favourite players. He's extremely charismatic and funny and we all love him. I just wish he had gone down the Tadanari Lee path and chose Japanese citizenship instead. But there is simply nothing stopping someone like that representing Japan when you are indoctrinated like this.

    Whilst I don't doubt his commitment for North Korea (he's simply the most hardworking striker in the J.League full-stop) to somehow suggest his tears really were soiled with some type of deep affinity is nonsensical. Its no more different than my girlfriend welling up over God Save the Queen because her hubby has taught her so much about the UK that it feels like a part of her - despite the fact she has hardly ever been there.

  • Comment number 39.

    Oops I meant not stopping representing DPRK instead not Japan. You get the idea though.

  • Comment number 40.

    # 37 dalpengi

    I'm not saying it is or Isn't upto to FIFA to judge Human Rights read my coment.

    I said North Korea does not have a truly independent FA. There have been 14 suspensions in 6 years due to this, so FIFA have a duty to be consistant:

    Perhaps politically it is easier to ban Ethopia than North Korea?

  • Comment number 41.

    Good article..couple of points.Firstly we are watching a second very poor world cup in a row,one that seems to get worse as each supposedly great team proves to be dull and unimaginative..stand up Brazil,England et all!Having watched my son play for Chelsea from the age of 8-10 i am not surprised at all.Every last drop of individuality is drained from the youngsters and they are trained like racehorses to perform efficiently.
    What is becoming apparent is that what we see in the Champions League is the best of a very poor pool of world talent.Let the kids express themselves or a boring Brazil will be all we will have to look forward to.

  • Comment number 42.

    So if Brazil are bad when they won a game 2-1 what does that make England?

  • Comment number 43.


    The "white" press does it to all "non-white" countries. See the furore over the human rights abuses in S Africa prior to the tournament... and of course the 2008 Olympics... nothing about safety standards in Vancouver 2010 though, when a poor Georgian guy actually DIED...

  • Comment number 44.


    "Its no more different than my girlfriend welling up over God Save the Queen because her hubby has taught her so much about the UK that it feels like a part of her - despite the fact she has hardly ever been there. "

    Your girlfriend is married???

  • Comment number 45.

    @ 41 :
    Stupid premature generalizations. Wait for the quarter-finals at least. Then try again.

  • Comment number 46.

    Brazil were class, they won 2-1 in their first game. you are an embarrassing addition to the BBC with an article like this, it is possibly one of the worst articles I have ever read.

  • Comment number 47.

    #40 Vincent

    I see your point. It's a valid one. Cheers.

    Going back to Jong, here is an interview with him on AFC's page where he explains a thing or two.

  • Comment number 48.

    Spain, in today's contest, are another victim of the pass it around in infinite little triangles and eventually you will get to into position to score a goal. For all of their possession, Spain could not manage a goal and went down in defeat to lowly Switzerland.

    There are many Brazilians who remember the failure of the Magic Quartet in 2006, despite the many journos who fawned over them even though the scorelines betrayed their actual performances in WC06. I can assure you that, had another lineup played yesterday against NK with a squad of their top creative players playing jogo bonito and losing 1-0 like Spain the reaction in Brazil would have been much more fierce than it was with a 2-1 win with Dunga's squad.

    I was at the farcical 0-0 qualifier against Bolivia in Rio last year, when many of the superstars like Ronaldinho Gaúcho and Diego were in the squad. There was no cohesion in the squad at all - it was an appalling display of individual talent over team, which resulted in nothing but frustration for the fans.

    The problem of jogo bonito is that it risks becoming the spectacle of individual talents reacting to the ebb and flow of a game and less about a team concentrated on winning a match.

  • Comment number 49.

    It seems to me that there has been a new stereo type made about Brazil under Dunga and the media want to latch onto it for a story, from the game yesterday Brazil were in control of the game and probing to make opportunities and were the only team trying to win, but for a few counter attacks by NK, and were stiffled by a well organised NK team. On another day it would have been 4 or 5 nil to Brazil. Yet again an over reaction to ONE game.

    The only negative would be keeping 2 holding midfielders on for the whole game, but once 2 nil up i dont think you would see any half decent manager removing one and replacing with an attacking player.

    Answer this, other than Chile and Spain today name one team that got there full backs further forward than Brazil?

  • Comment number 50.

    I have watched every game apart from the argentina v nigeria so far and i can honestly say only three teams have entertained me.Germany were fantastic against austalia,chile today were very good and attacking against honduras, and lord only knows how it only ended up 1-0 and also the opening game was pretty decent.Other than that the teams have been so defensive and have merely focused on not losing than winning.Lets hope the 2nd set of games can spark some life into this dull world cup,otherwise it could quite possibly go down as one of the most boring world cups in the competitions illustrious history.

  • Comment number 51.

    North Koreann politics, there is such a thing?? Hahaahha. But they can certainly play football, and that what matters. Another big test their next game though!

  • Comment number 52.

    'Beautiful game' genuflects at the altar of 'efficient football'. I do not even recall the name of Casillas' opposite number!

  • Comment number 53.

    Last evening Brazil showed glimpses of things to come. The massive effort by Maicon took away the match from the gallant North Koreans. What a goal it was ! Till then the Asian team looked capable of providing the first real shock of the World Cup. The on-field behaviour of the Korean team was examplary. If there is a trophy for fair play the Korean team could be worthy candidates for the honour along with some others.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 54.

    Jonathan-people like watching Arsenal? I agree if you are an Arsenal supporter but not many neutrals do. OK I am a Manchester United fan first but I really enjoyed watching Chelsea last term. Reason? There is an end result to keeping possession for them. Fifty passes in the centre circle is played out now-too easy for defenders and last time I looked they have STILL not put any goal posts in there. If they do Arsenal will win the PL.

  • Comment number 55.

    Brazil are playing more conventional football but they still have the quality up front to make the difference.

  • Comment number 56.

    The first World cup that I hve real memories of is 1970 and s I was fortunate enough to witness the blossoming of the greatest football team everto grace this planet,4 years on the Cruyff inspired Dutch showed that the beautiful game was not restricted to teams in yellow.

    That is what I love about football and want to see not Dunga's pragmatic approach or the dross turned out by the likes of Portygal,Ivory Coast and England alredy in what is heading for being a totally forgettable tournament

  • Comment number 57.

    @ post 1: Sort it out. We don't want to read that type of gough on here.

  • Comment number 58.

    Pass pass pass can be a bit boring too - without an endproduct (Barca vs Inter, Arsenal vs, Spain vs Switzerland).
    One man's boring tournament can be another's exciting tournament. For "excitement" check the premier league and all that wizzy-bang stuff. For such an important prize as this, it's more intricate and pleasing to see the tactics played out, the strategy, the nullification of an advantage, etc

    Dunga is doing what he deems necessary. Remember the team with Zico, Dr. Socrates, etc which promised so much and didn't win.
    Remember Holland and their "total football" that fell to consecutive hosts.

    It's also funny some pundits (ex-footballers) the way they now "see" so much...yet their own careers didn't seem to match up to their current take on the game.

    The refs have been very good. Commentator "why did the ref do that", then replay shows why the algerian player went off (and picks up on where he got the first yellow card), on the ref booking the german player for simulation, etc. But for TV and commentators and slow-mo and the benefit of replays, the pundits act as if they know all.

    Why does the media here always belittle others? To feel superior?
    why is the Maicon goal a fluke? Any more than Josimar's or Ronaldinho's? Because an english player couldn't do it? "He wasn't looking" - so what? Can you not know where the players are (a la Cantona to name one person) without looking? In that position, did it really look like a mishit pass?

    Could England beat North Korea? The other teams (even the so called "minnows") seem to play a different game from the english.

    People here can't understand if it's not boom-boom-boom sort of "kick and rush" as the Kaiser would say...people get restive if they don't see a lot of full bloodied action. Maybe it's an attention span thing. People brought up on a 3 minute karaoke jingle may be restive sitting down to an intricate long passage of complex music? Similarly, football has evolved.
    The prize is big. Teams that want to win aren't going to worry about pretty football, mazy dribbling and all that. Just look (not) at Arsenal.

    Brazil waited 24 years from the Pele era to win it again. And then 8 years later. Perhaps they realise that winning involves pragmatism too.
    It's great to see people playing to their strengths as Ottmar Hitzfeld has done with the swiss and Otto Rehhagel did with the greeks 2004.

    Not sure why the BBC needs to do a spoof on North Korea? The North Koreans probably aren't as fussed about us as we are about them.They may be fussed about the US since MacArthur's time and the war but this is footie after all.
    The ITV ones asked Davids who the dutch wanted to beat and he said the germans; they asked Vieira who the french wanted to beat and he said the italians. The guy was shocked no-one said the english. Why would they - they always do beat us. And they don't think as much about us as we do about them.

    (When the shoe is on the other foot, hope foreign media go through all the dodgy places here too in 2012.)

    "The italians are old, the brazilians are efficient..." predictable media

  • Comment number 59.

    If I was a manager at the World Cup (even of a traditional flair side such as Brazil) I would be putting result above importance as Dunga does.

    At the end of the day, nothing compares to winning the World Cup and if it means scraping through in the group stages and winning every knockout match on penalties, then so be it.

    It just seems strange that winning football's biggest prize is not enough for the Brazilians - I would think that as a Scotland fan though!

  • Comment number 60.

    When Brazil won in 1994 it was after 24 years of trying to please the likes of you and the other footballing romantics. The reality is that these other countries like Italy and Germany and Argentina had a tactical game taken to a new level which meant that Brazil would always fall foul of them playing in the way they did. This European tactical evolution meant that after 24 years of trying to play the beautiful game they adopted a more pragmatic approach and defended first. They also had a certain creative genius known as Romario who if I am not mistaken scored against Uruguay twice in the final qualifying game to take Brazil to the world cup (after being recalled) then scored and set up all Brazils goals in the games against Sweden, Cameroon and Russia in the group games. He then set up Bebeto to score a great goal against the USA in the 2nd round on independence day. He also scored one and set up one against a OVER HYPED dutch side. Oh and then he scored the winner in the semi final against Sweden. Then to the final that you talk about in a way that is widely accepted and perpetrated as an accurate portrayal. Lets face it ITALY and there NEGATIVE tactics were to blame. Yet again the European commentators and the Italians wanted Brazil to play Jogo Bonito and fulfil a familiar role as tragic loser. NO winning was important to BRAZIL. Too bad Italy a typical European team destroyed that Final. Brazil and Dunga give Brazil what it needs in the face of what it is up against.

    Last night North Korea defended with 10 men most of the night(think they learned that from the Europeans). Inevitably Brazil found it difficult to break down as to their credit the Koreans were fit, strong, disciplined and capable.

    Bravo BRAZIL and DUNGA. Dont believe the hype and dont fall into the trap. This is the day where unless you have the greats like ROMARIO, GARRINCHA, PELE, RONALDO OR RIVALDO You must play to your strengths. Brazil are the best in the world at football and deep down you all know it.

  • Comment number 61.

    "24. At 2:18pm on 16 Jun 2010, SleepingSpurs wrote:

    It was moving to see Jon Tae-Se cry, such is his love of a homeland that has allowed millions of it's own people to starve, uses humans for live experiments, runs death camps and is generally pretty comparable to the Nazis."


    You mistake his display of emotion for national pride. I don't think it had anything to do being proud to represent Kim Jong Il and his ilk. He was probably crying because never, in his wildest dreams, did he ever think he'd be playing in the World Cup against the number one team in the world - Brazil.

    He comes from a broken nation ruled with iron fist by a tyrannical government. This was one of the few chances he had to get away from that nightmare, and step into a world where he could finally express himself.

    That's why he was crying. He was overwhelmed with joy. Overwhelmed by the experience that he was in a World Cup stadium, and the world's attention was focused on him. Very few players get to say, "I played at the World Cup." Even fewer actually acknowledge how valuable that experience is. He can proudly claim that he is one such player.

    And I applaud him for it. Let him enjoy his freedom; this is the World Cup, and there is nothing like it. Not even the Olympics.

  • Comment number 62.

    "58. At 7:47pm on 16 Jun 2010, alanskillcole wrote:

    The ITV ones asked Davids who the dutch wanted to beat and he said the germans; they asked Vieira who the french wanted to beat and he said the italians. The guy was shocked no-one said the english."


    I don't think Davids' and Vieira's answers were meant to be disrespectful towards England, or because "they always beat us."

    The reason the Dutch would want to beat the Germans is because Germany and Holland have a longstanding and intense rivalry akin to the England-Scotland rivalry. Plus I don't the Dutch have forgotten about the Holland-Germany match from the '94 World Cup.

    The reason the French want to beat the Italians predictably stems from the 2006 Final. Zidane was sent off in disgrace for falling for dirty Italian tricks, and the team most deserving to win the 2006 World Cup - France - unjustifiably ended up empty handed.

    If a German journalist asked a Brazilian player that same question, and he answered, "Argentina" the reason for that answer is because of their rivalry, not because he considers Germany a small team that has no chance of making an impact.

    Their answers are not surprising considering the circumstances. There's no reason for "England" to be the answer to that question. Holland v England or France v England aren't exactly huge footballing rivalries. Sure, the Englishman's shocked reaction is laughable, but your assertion that the Dutch and French don't consider the English as a viable threat is just as laughable.

  • Comment number 63.

    #61: Why do you blame Italy tactic? It's so childish. Each country has their own play and mentality in order to win. You do your play we do ours and if you cannot win than blame yourself not the others.
    We are not the same, and thanks god for that, otherwise the world would be a boring place to live and football too.

  • Comment number 64.

    "63. At 00:32am on 17 Jun 2010, Alba wrote:

    #61: Why do you blame Italy tactic? It's so childish. Each country has their own play and mentality in order to win. You do your play we do ours and if you cannot win than blame yourself not the others.
    We are not the same, and thanks god for that, otherwise the world would be a boring place to live and football too."


    I blame the Italian tactic because the tactic itself is childish. If you feel the need to get another player in trouble with the referee or sent off is a viable method for achieving success, then you don't appreciate the game of football.

    It becomes less about scoring a goal or playing with a superior strategy and more about who can fool the referee. That's not football, that's a childish game kids use to fool their parents.

    If we want to differentiate ourselves, then let us do it with our style of play and not by our style of political games.

  • Comment number 65.

    The Switzerland Spain game should be warnings to those who think football is first and foremost entertainment. For all the passing and movement Spain displayed, the truth is the final scoreboard told the real story. A long ball up the center headed down, passed onto an onrunning player who scored. Football basic lesson number one, take Route 1.
    If you want to watch a "Harlem Globetrotter" version of Brazil, suggest going to a testimonial. I'd rather watch a tense 0-0 game anyday than flash and flair. For me football is about drama not divas in yellow shirts.

  • Comment number 66.

    #64 Political games....put other players in trouble with the referee ? What the hell are you talking about???

    Italy is not Brasil and never will be, like germany, french, english etc. We don't have the most spectacular football but they (almost) always had the TEAM and above all the winning mentality, and if I may say it England or Spain does not (just two examples of teams with very good players)and that makes the difference.

    They might not have had the top class striker, they might not have a Maradona (which I loved) or Cruyjff (I adored), Pelè etc. but for sure had always top class goalkeeper, top class defense, top class midfielders.
    As you know football is a team sport not an individual one. Top class strikers cannot always (on the contrary) make the difference, if they do not have a real team behind to back them. In order to win and be a complete team you need to think defense as well, if not the first thing to do I think.
    If Spain, Brasil, Germany, England etc. think and feel they are the best offensive team, then they should be able to show their talent,skill and have no problem to break down their weaker opponents. If you can not do that it's not the fault of your oponent but yours only.
    English fans and media has demonised Green for one mistake (only one) he made. Although it was a big mistake, it can happen we are human being, but very few complains about the fact that England had plenty of time (second time of the match) to fight back and win the game but they didn't. I suppose the USA goalkeeper and their defense should have set back, drink some beer and welcome England goals. I suppose NC and Switzerland should have done the same with Brasil and Spain right?
    In the name of what? Because the Top Class individual performances of Torres, Ronaldo, "Fabuloso" Fabinho, Kakà, Messi, Rooney could've expressed themselves nice and easy? Brasil should've played samba just to show off instead of taking 3 points? It's so ridiculos!!!
    Why have a WC tournament with countries from all continents than? Why have these groups rules and points needed? Why we just don't organise a tournament with Brasil, Spain, Argentina, Germany, and of course England, only? I have a better idea...why not organise teams with strikers, only, and have plenty of goals so people can enjoy the spectacle?
    Sport is a challenge not arrogance, never underestimate your opponent nor be afraid of it, or even worse, have a complex of inferiority.
    Fight&passion,head&heart, but above all believe in what you want and what you do. No matter how fearceful might your oponent seems, no matter how classy or average you mmight be. That's the spirit and the winning mentality in sport as in life. Not assuming, not giving by default that the others are crap never giving the deserved credits to the winners, and above all never learn how to lose, for a while.

    Enjoy the game, if you can and if you really love football.
    Do not use childish attitude, kind of "it's he's fault not mine, it's them not us". Pathetic attempt to justify the lack of good sense.


    p.s. Sorry if my english it's not so excellent but it's not my mother tongue and I'm an autodidact.

  • Comment number 67.

    # 58 alanskillcole
    Thanks for injecting some sense into the blog. It had gone totally tangential; politics, emotions, type of government et al. We need to stick to the game, its intricacies, innovations and evolution to gain the result.

    It will always remain a mystery to me how Otto Raheggal did the Euros 2004 with Greece!

    # 53 DrCajetanCoelho

    A very subtle observation! Koreans were full of heart, valiant and very disciplined. They were overpowered in the end, a tribute to intrinsic quality of Brazil but Koreans resistance enhanced the beautiful game.

  • Comment number 68.

    I know the team that plays slick, swift, attacking football does not always win. Just ask Spain. But for the sake of football I hope Brazil does not get to the WC final. Then Dunga will not have the efficiency none sense to talk about, and a less gifted but hard working team playing attacking football will win over an efficient, boring Dunga team.

  • Comment number 69.

    #62 quote: "Zidane was sent off in disgrace for falling for dirty Italian tricks."

    It's funny the double standarts you apply only because the mighty Zidane was insulted. It seems that Zidane never did awful things towards others players or never insulted them during his career, right?

    Well, let me refresh you memory and bring you some records. Zidane was sent off 3 times with Bordeaux - 5 with Juventus (one for headbutting Hamburger player Kientz and no insult there), 2 with Real Madrid - 2 with France in WC 1998, against Saudi Arabia when he literally stepped on Fuad Anwar, and the last in the WC 2006 final game for headbutting marked the 14th overall expulsion of Zidane's career. Remember also that he was also suspended on yellow cards from the final match of the group stage in WC 2006 as well.
    The first French player to receive a red card in the WC in 1998. One of four players that have been sent off in a World Cup final, one of two players that have been sent off during two different World Cup tournaments.

    These are facts. I don't know about you bu for me it's too much taking into consideration that he is an attacking midfielder. Paolo Maldini, a defender, partecipating in 902 official matches with Milan and in 126 (a record) matches with the National Team have been sent off with a red card ONLY ONCE, during the 25 years of his career!

    Doesn't even cross to your mind that Zidane, which is a great player but not a sportsman, had a huge problem with his temper/caracter?
    Can you really admitt, in all honesty,that if the above would have been related to someone else, and not to the "Golden ball adidas boy" you would still be so "generous", and justify it as "Italian dirty trick"? Can you really admitt that what he did was not stupid, disgraceful towards his team, fans, nation, and I would say even towards his family? Because in my opinion it is a matter of education as well.
    Did Materazzi insulted him? Yes he did but despite the fact that players have always had exchange of insults, Materazzi is not the Golden Ball man. Award given to the players which have distinguished from the rest,in different aspects of the game though, and not only for how well they can manage the ball. Materazzi is not 3 times FIFA World Player of the Year, Zidane is. Materazzi is not the winner of Ballon d'Or, Zidane is. Materazzi is not one of the highest paid athlete in the world, Zidane is. Materazzi does not have an endorsements with companies, such as: Adidas,Lego,France Telecom,Audi,Christian Dior etc. and above all Materazzi is not a UNDP "Goodwill Ambassadors", Zidane is as from 2001. My point is that the responsabilities of such a pubblic figure are many and huge.

    Zidane that night was on the edge of going mad very early. Not only him but the team as well were nervous and making heavy faults (3 players of France were given yellow cards vs 1 player of Italy). In Zidane's words words "I could never have lived with myself” had France not won the match, and France was not winning, I could understand his frustration. He was playing very well and trying hard to find the 2nd goal. He was getting tired with an injured shoulder, and in pain.
    He asked Domenech for an exchange but Domenech didn't of course.
    To make things worse for him here he is, Materazzi. Mr.Nobody (but had made the goal for Italy and is he's marker) grabbing Zidane's jersey, so why not behave like arrogant with him? That is a provocation and the insult came from there, which I do not justify at all.

    You see, Zidane's final season with Real ended trophyless, he was retiring from national team as well after that final match of the WC 2006. So what an achivement, what a great deal must be if only he could win the title of World Champions again, and close a great career with a great title in his last match? It's a beautiful dream isn't it?
    But NO! Apparently it was more difficult, that he and his frends might have thought, to beat Italy that night. With his temper and with all what was going on during that evening he simply couldn't resist anymore and a verbal insult (1000 times heard before and said by him to the others as well) breaks down his nerves, and he act shamefully as a drunk person in a cheap pub would act.
    He was sent off, rightly so and well deserved. It was the minimum.
    I can understand his anger and frustration in that moment but in no way I can or will justify his actions during his career and specially that night.
    He fully understands that now (you might wish to listen his radio interview of last year)funny that his fanatics dont. Verbal violence can hurt more sometimes but never, I repeat never, a physical violence can be justified.

    #62 quote: "and the team most deserving to win the 2006 World Cup - France - unjustifiably ended up empty handed."

    As for Italy winning the WC 2006, results of all matches of Italy vs result of all matches of France during that tournament (records are available on the web so go and check them) to not mention thier record in football history, would prove that your statement is completely wrong. Based only on your personal desire and fanatic (not football lover) attitude and mentality.

  • Comment number 70.

    Just because your beloved Italy is criticised for their anti-football tactics. It is a fact that defensive tactics eminate from Europe and that they have a negative effect on the game. I for one loved Roberto Baggio (the best Italian player of all time) but the tactics of Sacchi in the final of 94 - quitiessential ITALY.

    FIFA and the media create the history they want for the teams and the players they want. For instance Italia90 was the most boring and negative of all the world cups I have ever watched. However just because England went far it is fondly remembered in a delusional fashion as one of the "Great Tournaments". Similar concept with players, how come Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Crusyf are greats and have their own spot on websites for BBC and FIFA yet amazing WINNERS like ROMARIO AND GARRINCHA are almost written out of history. (mmm maybe their image does not conform to what FIFA like)., these so called European greats like Charlton, Cruyf, Beckenbauer and even ZIDANE come no where near their South American counterparts.

  • Comment number 71.


    "It's funny the double standarts you apply only because the mighty Zidane was insulted. It seems that Zidane never did awful things towards others players or never insulted them during his career, right?"

    When did I defend Zidane's actions? Reread my post. Just because I talked about dirty tricks doesn't mean I condone headbutting in football.

    But by that same token, it doesn't excuse Marco Materazzi's actions either. Materazzi knew exactly what he was trying to to. He wanted Zidane to react violently. It was his goal! And Zidane, the idiot that he is, fell for it. But like the old saying goes, "Two wrongs do not make a right."

    That is just one example of what I mean when I say, "put other players in trouble with the referee." Another, and more obvious example, is diving (another dirty tactic that Italian players embrace) which not only gets another player in trouble, but also gives your team a free kick or penalty through deceptive means.

    Of course, these dishonorable actions aren't just restricted to Italian players. South Americans seem to be masters of deceiving referees. Probably the most recent example of dirty tactics wasn't even a South American or an Italian. I refer to Thierry Henry's clear handball goal to send France to the World Cup at the expense of the Irish.

    Like I said, it becomes less about playing with a superior strategy, and more about fooling the referee and deception.

    There is nothing childish about what I say, it is simply an ugly fact and disgraceful part of football. The dirty tricks are the actions you should be labeling childish.

  • Comment number 72.

    By: Jordan C. Fan, Prophet of Environment.

    The Netherlands Team won by "Dutch Courage."

    The Brazilian Team lost without "Bravado!"


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