Samba flair lacking from Brazil's team

Published: Jun 17, 2010, 08:39 IST | Carlos Montiero |

The samba kings took their bow at Ellis Park on Tuesday night but the legion of Brazilian fans who braved the bitter cold of Johannesburg were far from pleased.

The samba kings took their bow at Ellis Park on Tuesday night but the legion of Brazilian fans who braved the bitter cold of Johannesburg were far from pleased.

My MAN: Coach Dunga has shown a lot of faith in Kaka. PIC/gettyimages

Brazil escaped with a hard-fought 2-1 win but the North Koreans proved a tough nut to crack.

The world number one team struggled to break down the defence of the lowest ranked team at the World Cup.

And that should set alarm bells ringing for the coach Dunga. A hard-nosed defensive midfielder in his time, Dunga has fashioned a Brazilian team in his image � lacking much flair.

Ball carriers Felipe Melo and Gilberto Silva anchor the midfield, cleaning up efficiently but hardly able to deliver the killer pass to open up the opposition.

As the red North Korean wall closed down space to counter the Brazilian attacks, creativity was clearly in short supply.

A revitalised Robinho showed some skilful touches and appeared the only Brazilian attacker with the ability to conjure up something extraordinary.

But Kaka, former world player of the year, and the key to Brazil's attack, struggled to make an impact on the game. Coming of the back off a poor, injury-hit season at Real Madrid, and clearly shorn of match fitness, Kaka will have to step up a gear or two if Brazil are to stamp their authority on Group G.

After the match, Kaka claimed his performance was acceptable, given the circumstances. "I think it was good for an opening match. I didn't really know what sort of condition I would be in.

I hadn't played for a long time, I've been through a lot and so I'm very happy. Of course, there's a lot of room for improvement, but it was OK. I hope that in the next match I can play for longer and in better conditions."

Elano, who created the first goal and scored the second against North Korea, had a relatively good game. But he is not ideally suited to the No 10 role that is integral to the way that Brazil plays.

Dunga incensed pundits and fans in his home country when he declined to bring either Ronaldinho or Santos's talented whizkid Paulo Henrique Ganso to South Africa. It was a high-risk gamble which now leaves him with no credible alternative to Kaka as a playmaker.

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