worldcup 2010


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Pressure on Brazil Soccer World Cup

Agence France-Presse . Johannesburg

The extraordinary crush of media and fans’ expectations has exerted even more pressure on Brazil to get off to a flying start against North Korea in their World Cup opener here today.

Such is the unrealistic demands heaped on the five-time world champions not only to win but in style that coach Dunga and his players are under excruciating scrutiny to produce the goods against the Asian minnows at Ellis Park Stadium.

Brazil go into their Group G match expected to come away with three points against the reclusive North Koreans in their first-ever encounter.

Brazil are ranked number one and North Korea, playing their first World Cup since their sensational debut in 1966, come in at 105, so the gulf between the rivals is monumental.

Dunga has not enamoured himself to the massed ranks of his country’s football media by banning reporters from training for the third time in a week ahead of their World Cup opener.

More than 400 media personnel are in South Africa to report on the squad’s every move, further heightening fractious relations ever since Dunga took charge of the team in 2006.

Dunga’s emphasis on work-rate and defensive duties has left the supporters of the ‘jogo bonito’ (beautiful game) fuming, but the World Cup-winning skipper is intent on forging the Brazil approach in his own image.

Dunga can point to just four defeats in his 55 games in charge as proof that his methods are bringing results.

But even though he has been successful in lifting the Copa America and Confederations Cup the media see the 1994 World Cup-winning skipper as a cautious individual whose team lacks flair.

Dunga remains defiant in the teeth of the hostility. ‘If we have to get down and dirty to win then we will - the important thing is to win,’ he said.

It is imperative that Brazil come away with nothing less than a win over North Korea as they have tough examinations to come in their ‘Group of Death’ against Portugal and Ivory Coast.

North Korea provide one of the intriguing stories of this World Cup.

It is their first World Cup tournament in 44 years when back in England they shocked the world with a 1-0 win over then two-time world champions Italy before going out after an epic 5-3 loss to Portugal in the quarter-finals.

The North Koreans go in with nothing to lose against the red-hot favourites, although there is a steely belief within the squad that they can prove an irritant to Brazil.

Their best-known player Jong Tae-Se hopes his team can change the image of the isolated nation and believes they could topple mighty Brazil.

Striker Jong, who plays in Japan’s J-League, said: ‘We want to change the North Korean image. Our core mentality is like Germany, Germany’s spirit.

‘We’re brave. We can win against Brazil. (What) everybody thinks about that game is we can’t win but we have a brave heart and brave spirits.’

Dunga, Brazil media on rocky road

Agence France-Presse . Johannesburg

Brazil coach Dunga has been accused of giving his side a fourth World Cup opponent - the massed ranks of the country’s football media.

Reporters were up in arms on Sunday after Dunga banned reporters from training for the third time in a week, just two days before the South Americans face North Korea in their World Cup opener.

Brazilian Football Confederation official Rodrigo Paiva announced the decision amid speculation of a spat between players Daniel Alves and Julio Baptista on Friday after training.

But whatever the cause the 400-odd reporters who try to keep tabs on the aquad’s every move were decidedly unimpressed.

Relations have been fractious since Dunga took charge of the team in 2006.

Even though he has been successful in lifting the Copa America and Confederations Cup the media see the 1994 World Cup-winning skipper as a cautious individual whose team lacks flair.

Earlier this month Dunga complained ‘we have some 300 reporters from Brazil who are hoping we won’t win so that they can say they were right when they said he (Dunga) got lucky for the Copa America and Confederations Cup victories’.

Luis Prosperi, from Sao Paolo daily Jornal da Tarde, told AFP: ‘There are almost 400 reporters following Brazil and Dunga decided to create an unnecessary quarrel by making Saturday and Sunday training behind closed doors affairs right at the last minute. That didn’t suit anyone.

‘Dunga will have his motives - maybe to protect the team - but I don’t understand as this is not a tradition with Brazil (to keep the press out).

‘He has chosen the media as his main rival - not North Korea, Portugal or Ivory Coast,’ charged Prosperi.

Ari Ferreira, a photographer with Lance! sports daily, added that ‘Dunga must have problems with the press - I don’t know if with a particular person or everybody. But he has problems. It is very complicated to work around closed sessions. You don’t win matches like this.’

Eduardo Nicolau, a photographer with O Estado de Sao Paulo daily, added that ‘we are having major problems. We can’t arrange our schedule to cover other things and it’s making things tough on a daily basis.’

And Marcos Paulo Lima, of Correio Braziliense daily, believes that Dunga’s tactics could backfire as ‘it increases the risk of speculation’.

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