With a third Quarter Final exit in four tournaments, Brazil have had to swallow yet another bitter pill. Their exit this competition around proves more hurtful, as glaring problems often outweigh the handful of positives, under new coach Dunga.

Following harrowing defeats to Germany and Netherlands on home soil, Brazilian football’s governing body, proceeded to make rapid and sweeping changes. Former World Cup Winning coach Luis Philipe Scolari was shown the door, and former World Cup Winner Dunga, was restored at the helm of the the Selecao. However, Brazil’s loss should not be analysed in isolation, as it is developed by a context that has long been brewing since Dunga’s take-over. Paraguay’s defeat exposed the flaws in the Selecao setup, that are more systemic, than symptomatic.

Brazil need a change in temperament, and not just Tactics

Their first game exposed their initial chinks, as an over-dependance or Neymar was obvious from the first whistle. Attacking players would get into promising positions, yet waited for the Barcelona winger to enter the fray and produce his customary magic. The strategy worked, but only just. Neymar scored and assisted in their 2-1 victory, yet Peru matched them inch-for-inch through the entire ninety.

A wizard, in a blizzard of his own making

A wizard, in a blizzard of his own making

Their second match against Columbia was a torrid affair that consisted of more scrapes, confrontations and violence than football. Brazil had lost the match, not because Columbia were a markedly better side, but Brazil themselves succumbed, as they often do, to intense emotion under intense pressure. Their performance in the 0-1 defeat ended not only with their chances in the competition up in the air, but it also left them without captain Neymar, who shot his own team in the foot by getting banned for four international qualifiers.

Brazil must stick with Dunga

Making little fuss about Brazil’s World Cup performance, Dunga began to re-structure the national team, ousting national under-performers such as Marcelo, Paulinho, Gustavo, Hulk and Fred, and handing out call-ups and debuts to deserving up-and-comers like Coutinho, Diego Tardelli, Fabinho, Luiz Adriano and Felipe Anderson. His decision to make Neymar captain in Thiago Silva’s absence stuck on even after the defenders return, and consequently stamped Dunga’s authority, steering clear from Scolari’s Selecao.

Though he got his balance and tactics wrong in midfield, Dunga is building toward the future, and not resting on the laurels of his past. With the likes of Couthinho and Firmino gaining ground, Dunga will aim to build a Brazil that can survive Neymar’s absence. The gutless routing by Germany as well the performance against Paraguay, suggest that Brazil will have to play more as a cohesive unit than the supporting act of a mercurial front man

Miranda and Thiago Silva are Brazil’s most ideal CB pairing

Despite David Luiz getting the nod over Thiago Silva, in the run-up to the Copa America. Ateltico Madrid’s Joao Miranda worked brilliantly to complement the PSG captain, as Brazil aimed to reduce the comical errors associated with David Luiz.

Though it was Silva’s hand-ball that gave away the penalty, Brazil’s back-line looked the strongest it has the entire competition. Brazil vs Paraguay

While many saw Miranda’s exclusion from Scolari’s World Cup side as a critical oversight, Dunga has made the player his representative on the pitch, handing him the captain’s armband in Neymar’s absence. Though that decision might’ve not rested well with Silva, it gave him the freedom to maraud into attacking positions, and make himself a nuisance in the opponents’ penalty box. His volley to equalise against Peru was a top drawer finish from a player that often goes unmarked in set-piece situations.

Coutinho and Firmino, are the way forward for Brazil

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Their first game exposed their initial chinks, as an over-dependance or Neymar was obvious from the first whistle. Attacking players would get into promising positions, yet waited for the Barcelona winger to enter the fray and produce his customary magic. The strategy worked, but only just. Neymar scored and assisted in their 2-1 victory, yet Peru matched them inch-for-inch through the entire ninety.
With the Liverpool attacker enjoying his finest campaign yet, Coutinho’s skill will bode well with Firmino, when the latter arrives at Anfield. If a favourable partnership is struck between the two at Merseyside, will bode well for consistency at both club and country.

Though they remain diamonds-in-the-rough, they are certainly hot prospects for Brazil’s future. Employing a more modern style to the traditional methods of Brazilian attack, both youngsters can develop quickly into first team stars.

Brazil vs Venezuela

The quarter final vs Paraguay was probably Brazil’s best shot at redemption, and though coach Dunga had employed a more experienced and balanced line-up, Brazil could not win the game over the ninety. The defeat however came with a sense of cyclical poesy, as Brazil were dumped out by Paraguay on penalties at the quarter final stage, for the second consecutive time in the Copa America.

That loss showed Brazil were no longer the best team in the world, winning only a solitary Confederations Cup since then. The loss this time around, should usher in a rebuilding process, one that will likely put Brazil on a path of consistency.