| Brazil coach Dunga talks to Kaka during a training session, in Johannesburg. (Reuters) |
Johannesburg: On Sunday, when Dunga turned up for the official media conference, he didnt have to answer too many questions on Brazils match against Chile in the Round of 16. Instead, the half-an-hour interaction was dominated by probing queries on what should be the coachs strategy against the Netherlands, their possible rivals in the next round.
The Brazilian coach was clearly not enjoying the conversation, but he could do little. Chile have never beaten Brazil in their several meetings in recent past and no one really believes that things would be any different at the Ellis Park on Monday.
Brazil have historically dominated encounters against their fellow South Americans over the years. In the qualifiers, Brazil had beaten Chile on both occasions, which actually prompted the appointment of Marcelo Bielsa as the national coach of Chile.
The teams have met twice in World Cups and Brazil won both times — 4-1 in the second round of the 1998 World Cup in France and 4-2 in the semi-final of the 1962 tournament in Chile.
Dunga, however, made it clear that he was not taking the rivals for granted. Now get to the stage where 90 minutes will be decisive, mistakes are not allowed or you will be going home, he said. Chile have been improving, they have a team with good players and will fight hard to keep advancing, he added.
Please dont ask me questions on the later stages of the tournament. We are only concerned with ourselves and immediate opponents. If Brazil start to be concerned about Argentina, there would be something wrong with our priorities, he said.
There are not many takers for Dungas theory despite Chile having a great run in the World Cup so far. They have played attractive football and even in the match against Spain when they lost 1-2, the Chileans earned praise for playing attacking football.
A few people questioned Chiles temperament at the highest level but there has always been the feeling that if they can hold it together, they could be a good force to reckon with in the group league. Though they stand little chance against Brazil, their level of consistency has impressed many in this World Cup.
On the other hand, so poor is Chiles temperament that they will miss their two central defenders — Gary Medel and Waldo Ponce — who will not play because of two yellow cards against Spain. Chile will also miss the services of midfielder Marco Estrada, who was sent off in the same match. Carlos Carmona is expected to return after a suspension.
Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, who has been credited for taking Chile this far, admitted that beating Brazil would be a huge task. The things that Brazil have done in the past exempt them from any sort of comment, he said.
They are always a team to be feared and this latest version preserves all the footballing attributes of the country and in addition, adds speed and ruthlessness.
There is one thing that the Brazilians would surely enjoy which is Chiles refusal to play defensive football against all odds. Chile represent a very different challenge but the Brazilians should be very confident of overcoming it. Chile like to attack. They can leave themselves wide open to the counter though their defence has a tendency to self-destruct, which was evident against Spain the other day.
Brazil would be further strengthened by the inclusion of Kaka and Elano, who missed the match against Portugal. They were back in training with the first eleven. Robinho is also set to start after complaining of leg cramps against Portugal. Dunga, however, is likely to keep Felipe Melo, who was injured against Portugal, out of the starting line up.
Brazilians started their campaign with a 2-1 win over gritty North Korea and then routed Ivory Coast 3-1. Their final group match ended in a goalless draw against Portugal with the Brazilian coach complaining bitterly on Portugals tendency to play rough.
Brazil (4-3-3): 1-Julio Cesar, 2-Maicon, 3-Lucio, 4-Juan, 6-Michel Bastos, 5-Felipe Melo, 8-Gilberto Silva, 7-Elano, 10-Kaka, 11-Robinho, 9-Luis Fabiano
Chile (3-4-3): 1-Claudio Bravo, 4-Mauricio Isla, 5-Pablo Contreras, 2-Ismael Fuentes, 8-Arturo Vidal, 6-Carlos Carmona, 20-Rodrigo Millar, 14-Matias Fernandez, 9-Humberto Suazo, 15-Jean Beausejour, 7-Alexis Sanchez 21-32-11
Referee: Howard Webb (England)