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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Brazil may well fail to qualify for the World Cup

Brazil not qualifying for a World Cup. It is something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime, having grown up on great Brazilian and South American teams. The unknown always adds excitement to a tournament and the 1978 World Cup in Argentina with all the ticker tape coming down was quite apart from any other.

To imagine one without Brazil there was unthinkable, but it is a very real possibility that they will not qualify from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) section.

Ten teams fight out qualification. They play each other home and away. That makes 18 games so you can see it is a long drawn out affair to qualify. The top 4 qualify automatically, the 5th placed side advance to the inter-confederation play-offs. The rest don't make it.

As it stands 6 games have been played and Brazil sit sixth behind Uruguay (4/1/1 - 13pts), Ecuador (4/1/1 - 13pts), Argentina (3/2/1 - 11pts), Chile (3/1/2 - 10pts) and Colombia (3/1/2 - 10pts).

Brazil have won 2, drawn 3 and lost 1 so have 9 points. They have beaten Peru (8th - 4pts) and Venexuela (10th - 1pt) at home while drawing with Uruguay (1st). Away from home they have drawn with Argentina (3rd), lost to Chile (4th) and drawn with Paraguay (7th - 9pts) after a last gasp 92nd minute equalizer.

Brazil have gone backwards as a footballing nation while countries like Chile, Colombia and Ecuador have advanced, which of course adds to the difficulty. With 12 games to go Brazil will have to improve and managed Dunga isn't a popular figure now. The football mad country don't forgive failure and they don't take to a poor national team. The lack of victories is a worry, especially as one of their wins was against the whipping boys.

The team continues to look as if it doesn't know what it is doing, it's the Roy Hodgson scenario all over again. Hodgson was clueless when it came to creating a playing system and we now know the FA knew his coaching was poor after Steven Gerrard told the FA after the last World Cup. We now know the coaching staff disagreed with his methods and the players didn't know what they were supposed to do, even asking during a game where someone was supposed to be playing!

You can not just throw 11 men onto a pitch and expect them to sort it out, an organised side will beat a bunch of 11 any day. You are just relying on someone doing something brilliant to get you out of trouble all the time, exactly the problem we have and why we have so many foreign coaches in the Premier League. They harness talent in a system, not just say go out and get on with it, whatever it is.

Against Paraguay Brazil were saved by their goalkeeper and that injury time goal, things would be even worse otherwise. It is a place they haven't won in 31 years though. Neymar is currently carrying Brazil, when he doesn't play they are there for the taking, especially if you adopt a counter-attacking approach.

Like Hodgson, Dunga is a cautious manager who hasn't learnt to harness the talent within the side, there is enough there to qualify easily, yet they are struggling and the pressure will only mount. As we saw against Germany Brazil are poor at the back and they haven't improved. Dunga has a feud with probably his best defender Thiago Silva. It was he who was holding the defence together and without him Germany ran riot, David Luiz didn't know what he was doing, not sure Dunga does at the moment.

Marquinhos is one of the most sought after central defenders in the world and PSG don't want to enter any negotiation with Barcelona who have been trying to buy his for 2 years. He hasn't even got a look in yet, which just demonstrates the no risk approach of Dunga, alien to what we expect from Brazilian football.

Dunga could make a place in history for  himself for all the wrong reasons, it is a very real possibility.


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