Dunga Announces First Brazil Squad Since Taking Over as Manager

By James Dudko, Featured Columnist Aug 19, 2014

New Brazil manager Dunga has named his first squad since taking over for Luiz Felipe Scolari, per 101 Great Goals. This is the group Dunga will use to try to get off to a winning start against Colombia.

One of the main headlines is an inclusion for Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho:Coutinho is a mercurial player, blessed with all the flair many associate with the best traditions of Brazilian international football. However, Scolari didn't exactly favour those type of players.Instead, the pragmatic veteran coach opted for functional, workmanlike midfielders, such as Tottenham Hotspur's Paulinho. The result was an oddly cautious team that didn't suit the type of expansive football fans of the national team want to see.Of course, Scolari's defensive structure was obliterated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final by Germany. The quick-breaking and free-flowing Germans simply bypassed Scolari's midfield destroyers en route to a 7-1 annihilation.

Obviously anxious to erase the memory of that catastrophic failure, Dunga has removed a significant portion of Scolari's selections:The most notable withdrawals are strikers Fred and Jo. Neither was a popular choice, but Scolari insisted on relying on them.

Dunga will now turn to Diego Tardelli to help Neymar and Hulk, a surprise escapee of the cuts, along the front:However, it's also significant that Dunga hasn't abandoned a rugged enforcer like Wolfsburg's Luiz Gustavo. But he has dispatched Inter Milan pass master Hernanes, and also neglected brittle but ingenious Sao Paulo FC playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso.

That's proof that Dunga isn't quite ready to abandon the defensive attributes Scolari seemed to prize above all else.One of the more interesting aspects of Dunga's inaugural selection is how it's weighted toward domestic-based players. While Scolari cast his net primarily across Europe's top leagues, Dunga has ensured plenty of home talent will earn caps.That could be an attempt to foster a more united squad to engender greater continuity on the pitch:One chosen home-based player is Corinthians' Everton Ribeiro. The 25-year-old attacking midfielder is one of the trickiest playmakers in Brazil.Similar to Coutinho, Ribeiro is the type of player unlikely to have been favoured by Scolari. His inclusion shows Dunga is at least thinking about moving toward a more adventurous team.It's significant that Dunga seems to have done all he can to distance himself from the Scolari era. That's understandable when considering how that tenure finished.

But distance won't be easy to achieve when Colombia are the first opponents. They were quarter-final opposition for Scolari's Brazil at the World Cup.The game essentially boiled down to an ugly succession of fouls from both teams. Brazil eventually won, 2-1.

However, it was a dire encounter that seemed to most symbolise a drab Brazilian team. Daniel Taylor of The Guardian detailed some of the brutality:

Brazil had played in the first half in the way the world wants Brazil to play. They had to find other qualities in that tense, choppy finale and their methods – victory at any means, to put it bluntly – will not appeal to everyone, after a match that brought a tournament high of 54 fouls.

Now is a good time for Dunga's new-look squad to show this is a Brazil team ready to return to a more stylish brand of winning.

With players like Coutinho and Ribeiro set to be given a chance, such a return is a real possibility.

Dunga to Give Hint of Intentions with First Brazil Squad Announcement

The good news is that people will finally stop talking about the unmitigated disaster that was the World Cup semi-final against Germany. Probably.

Later on Tuesday, new Brazil coach Dunga names his first squad since his reappointment. His opening game back in charge is against the Selecao's World Cup quarter-final opponents, Colombia.

Two teams, that, on current form, are headed in polar opposite directions. The Colombians, even without supposed star attraction Radamel Falcao, were one of the star attractions of last month's tournament.

Inspired by their principal conductor, James Rodriguez, the South Americans could have gone even further than the last eight had it not been for some brutal treatment handed out to their No. 10 by the not quite so gracious hosts.

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

James Rodriguez led Colombia's charge at the FIFA World Cup.

Dunga's brief is remarkably similar to that of 2006, the first time he was handed quite possibly the most demanding task in world football.

The 1994 World Cup winning captain faces a rebuilding mission. Having been handed the job swiftly following Luiz Felipe Scolari's resignation, the former midfielder has had time to think, to plot and to plan.

Now, with his first squad announcement imminent, we will have a first inkling of his initial conclusions. What does he think about the state of the current crop of players at his disposal?

There are obvious holes that need filling and Dunga has immediate decisions to make. With the retirements of goalkeeper Julio Cesar and striker Fred, the top and bottom ends of the team remain empty.

Martin Rose/Getty Images

Julio Cesar has retired from international football.

Whilst there have been a constant band of names surrounding the No. 1 jersey for a while now, with the likes of Jefferson, Diego Alves and Neto all mooted as potential successors, the feted No. 9 shirt is a different matter.

Such was the success of Ronaldo Fenomeno from the late 1990s up until the middle of the last decade, there are inevitable comparisons between the three-time World Player of the Year and anyone who dares to pull on that number.

Only Luis Fabiano has worn it with any level of consistent success, including a streak of 19 goals in 23 games between 2008 and 2010. What would a manager give for a spearhead with that kind of goalscoring instinct right now, and it must be a source of frustration that Diego Costa, a battering ram of a forward suited to the way Dunga shaped Brazil previously is now leading the line for Spain.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Luis Fabiano has been the only consistent No. 9 for Brazil since Ronaldo Fenomeno.

Perhaps the most deserving of the No. 9 shirt on current form is Sao Paulo's Alan Kardec.

The 25-year-old forward has netted five goals in his last seven outings and this past weekend became the first player in history to score against all four major Paulista clubs; Sao Paulo, Corinthians and Santos whilst playing for Palmeiras earlier in the season, before netting the winner against his former club for Sao Paulo on Sunday afternoon.

But Dunga is, above all, a pragmatist. There are no magic solutions to the Selecao's current malaise, no time for wistful recollections of what the mind conjures up when the words “Brazil” and “football” are uttered.

Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

Alan Kardec (center) is arguably the most deserving of the No. 9 shirt on current form.

Whereas his initial appointment, back in 2006, may have been seen as somewhat of a gamble, this time the Brazilian Football Confederation knows exactly what it is getting.

This is a job for someone unafraid to make enemies. Dunga proved during his first spell, through his blatant disregard for the country's hugely influential media arm, that he will not have his will bent.

That means right now it is a clean slate.

The friendly with Colombia on September 5 will be intriguing for several reasons. According to R7 Esportes, the crowd expected for the match should be record breaking for Miami (link in Portuguese).

It will see another clash between two of the finest young attackers on the planet, Neymar and James Rodriguez. It will also see the Brazil No. 10 reunited, if that is the right term, with Juan Zuniga, the man who prematurely ended his World Cup adventure with a less-than-subtle knee to the back.

But, above all, it will be the turning over of a new leaf and a chance to forget the horror of Belo Horizonte. And it all starts with Dunga's squad announcement.