Rio de Janeiro: Brazil coach Dunga on Tuesday unveiled a squad shorn through injury of Chelsea's Oscar for the Copa America in Chile as the five-times world champions look to return to winning ways after last year's World Cup failure. Having succeeded Luiz Felipe Scolari after the World Cup 10 months ago, Dunga is out to repair the image of a team whose morale was shattered by their semi-final loss to Germany.
Oscar. Pic/Getty Images
The 7-1 humiliation in Belo Horizonte left the nation of 202 million aghast as the Selecao failed to add an expected sixth world crown on home soil, revisiting the heartache of their 1950 final defeat in Rio to Uruguay. After those twin reverses Brazil now must rebuild far from the madding home crowds and under 1994 World Cup-winning coach Dunga have a man with ample experience both on the pitch and in the dugout to lead them. Oscar, whose absence means a call-up for Porto's Casemiro and Everton Riberio, who plays for UAE outfit Al-Ahli, said he regretted having to cry off.
"I am very sad not to be able to represent my country at the Copa America owing to injury. But I'll be supporting my companions as they look to land us the title," the Chelsea star, an ever-present to date under Dunga, said in a post to Instagram. Dunga said the midfield star had picked up an injury in training. "We spoke with (Chelsea) coach Jose Mourinho and the club doctor and realized the recovery would take a while and that he would not be in top shape for the Copa America," Dunga told reporters, saying he would instead return for 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Dunga identified Brazil, Argentina and Colombia as his tournament favourites, insisting eight-time winners Brazil were not lying bloodied and broken after their German mauling, even if they had hoped to do better. "Brazilian football remains admired ... we are still respected." Dunga's functionalism means he has still to win over the public despite eight friendly successes in as many outings since returning to the helm. Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Japan, Turkey, Austria, France and Chile have all been swatted for 18 goals scored -- half by Neymar -- and just two conceded. But the media have largely slated the industrial nature of some of those showings.
As well as skippering the 1994 squad to victry at USA '94 the 51-year-old Dunga, who won 91 caps during a career which took him to Italy, Germany and Japan, coached the national side to the 1997 Copa title. He also masterminded a 2009 Confederations Cup success in South Africa but the World Cup the following year brought a quarter-final loss to the Netherlands and the sack. Asked to give an indication on how Dunga Mark II was different from the first dugout incarnation, he explained: "People change day to day. You try to improve ... have a new vision." Brazil might have been hosting the June 11-July 4 South American tournament to which Mexico are also invited, along with Jamaica.
But they elected to pass the baton to Chile given Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup in 2013 and last year's World Cup and with the country also welcoming South America's first ever Olympics next year. Instead, the Selecao will host the continental championship in 2019. Not hosting means less pressure as Dunga prepares a side which kicks off against Peru on June 14 before facing Colombia and Venezuela. "We know all the matches will be difficult," Dunga told reporters.
"All teams who face Brazil do so with an intense desire to win." He explained that in blending up and coming home-based players with seasoned stars who ply their trade in Europe he was seeking to ensure the squad do not lack for figures steeped in values of responsibility, experience and tactical awareness.
Of former Manchester City forward Robinho, who has been on a hot streak of form since returning to Santos from AC Milan to land a state title, Dunga said: "He's been playing really well with Santos." Hosts Chile will open the tournament, taking on Ecuador in Santiago's Estadio Nacional. Brazil squad: Goalkeepers Jefferson (Botafogo), Diego Alves (Valencia/ITA), Marcelo Grohe (Gremio) Defenders: David Luiz (PSG/FRA), Marquinhos (PSG/FRA), Thiago Silva (PSG/FRA), Miranda (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Fabinho (Monaco/FRA), Marcelo (Real Madrid (ESP), Filipe LuÃs (Chelsea/ENG), Danilo (Porto/POR). Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg/GER), Fernandinho (Manchester City/ENG), Elias (Corinthians), Souza (Sao Paulo), Everton Ribeiro (Al Ahil/UAE), Douglas Costa (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Willian (Chelsea/ENG), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpoool/ENG) Strikers Neymar (Barcelona/ENG), Diego Tardelli (Shandong/CHN), Robinho (Santos), Firmino (Hoffenheim)