The coach of Brazil is “Dunga.” That’s it, just Dunga. If there was ever the epitome of the Brazilian soccer culture, it’s that even their coach goes by a single name.

Carlos Caetano Bledorn “Dunga” Verri was first a player too, of course. He captained the 1994 World Cup winning Brazilian team.

Past glory and one-name recognition isn’t helping him much though as he continues to deal with one of the most unusual coaching criticism campaigns ever.

Brazil is unbeaten and headed to the quarterfinals of the World Cup after taking Chile out behind the woodshed here 3-0 Monday night. Yet Dunga still faces an army of skeptics who are more interested in how Brazil wins, not just that it wins.

Upon being named national coach in 2006, Dunga installed a defensive-minded, counter-attack style that ran counter to the Brazilians’ famed flair, freedom and offensive fireworks. It hasn’t been met with much enthusiasm among some fans, media and former players, even as the team keeps winning international tournaments (Copa America, Olympics, Confederations Cup).

“Today’s Brazilian footballing style is an affront to our culture,” said former star Socrates, a one-namer himself.

That’s just part of Dunga’s popularity problems. While he captained that Cup champion in ’94, he was never the flashy hero of other one-name stars such Pele, Garrincha, Zizinho, Ronaldinho and now Kaka. His style of play was tough and physical.

Besides, Dunga is Portuguese for “dopey,” a nickname he acquired as a kid in reference to the dwarf of Snow White fame. And “Dunga” doesn’t really roll off the tongue like Ronaldo does.

Leading into this World Cup, dopey was about the nicest thing Dunga was called. It may be time for the critics to go quiet because this so-called affront to the Brazilian culture is marching onto a heavyweight quarterfinal match with the Netherlands on Saturday.

Brazil dominated all over the field Monday. The Selecao suffocated the Chilean offense and made brilliant offensive plays when the time was right.

Eighteen days into the World Cup and Brazil is still a favorite.

“Everybody expresses their own preferences,” Dunga said of the critics.

“I like winning.”

He has never been known to change course due to other opinions. He feuded with the Brazilian media throughout his playing days and that relationship has only deteriorated since he became the coach. Then there were the fans, who almost always favor the spectacular and revel in the nation’s tradition of breathtaking open-field play.

Brazil has always been about offense, offense, offense. It has the deepest pool of talent in which to select a team. Its players pride themselves on creativity.

Dunga decided to take all of that and harness it into a disciplined, balanced game plan. On Monday, it was one reason why the Chileans kept getting bottled up and had their true scoring chances kept to a minimum (15 shots, only three on goal). Chile looked defeated the moment Brazil scored first in the 35th minute.

Offensively, Brazil may not have opened the game up, but its playmaking ability was clear. The Brazilians’ second goal, where Kaka’s ability to control a hard cross and, with one touch, softly and precisely pass it up to Luis Fabiano, was a celebration of Brazilian culture, not an affront.

“Brazil was able to have balance and control,” Dunga said, explaining a triumph so easy he was able to rest his star forwards late.

It may not be enough for the cackling, grandstanding old stars who have been predicting doom for months.

“I am very worried they will have difficulty getting past the opening phase,” Socrates said and here’s hoping he didn’t lose any sleep over it.

“I am not confident in this group because our national team do not play Brazilian football,” said Carlos Alberto, the captain of the 1970 team, which is recognized as the greatest soccer team ever. “I’m talking about movement and use of the ball. We have good defenders, but the midfielders: if you ask Brazilian kids, who are our midfielders, they shrug their shoulders.”

So Dunga shrugs his shoulders.

“We all have our opinions,” he said last week.

He sits still at press conferences, fiddling with the microphone or examining his nails. He acknowledges the stakes – “my greatest challenge.” He reminds of the importance of confidence, of having a plan to execute rather than gambling that talent will win out.

“The most important thing is to sleep easily at night and to take the decisions that are best for the team,” Dunga said.

In the end this entire debate will come down to results. Brazil has five World Cups. It clearly has the talent to win a sixth. Just about anything less, no matter how aesthetically pleasing the style of play, would’ve been considered a failure.

And this supposedly slow-paced affront to the Brazilian culture, should it produce a golden trophy next month, will set off parties in the streets of Sao Paulo no matter how it gets done.

The critics aren’t letting up, though. Neither is Dunga. Someone is going to be proven right and thus far, the odds look in the favor of the one-name coach.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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