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Football: Brazil appoint Dunga as Scolari successor

The Brazilian Football Confederation has appointed Dunga as coach, replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose contract was not renewed after the hosts' World Cup semi-final thrashing by Germany.

RIO DE JANEIRO: The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) on Tuesday appointed Dunga as coach, replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose contract was not renewed after the hosts' World Cup semi-final thrashing by Germany. The 50-year-old Dunga, Brazil's 1994 World-Cup winning skipper, takes the reins for a second time having led the Selecao at the 2010 tournament.

"I am immensely happy - thank you for your confidence in me," said Dunga, who in his playing days was a tough-tackling midfielder with Serie A side Fiorentina and Germany's Stuttgart, and who also had a spell in Japan with Jubilo Iwata. "The fans are very down right now but they are right behind the team; I am not here to sell a dream, we must get down to work."

He has a brief to make the team shipshape for the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with next year's Copa America in Chile a first test. "We must get results and forge a side for 2018. This team is very young. We must find the way to blend new players with those who have more experience.

"We have to work conscientiously. And not just the players, but the press and the fans too," said Dunga, who in 60 games in charge in his first stint never really won over the fans who yearned for more "jogo bonito" (beautiful game) and less battling grit.

His no nonsense style was decried by some but his 91 caps showed the esteem in which he was held and that respect has endured,  according to CBF president Jose Maria Marin. "He was world champion, captain of a world champion side," Marin said. "He has what it takes to lead the Brazil team. The numbers show he absolutely has the ability to take charge."

Dunga was fired after a quarter-final loss to Holland in South Africa four years ago but previously landed both the Copa America title and the Confederations Cup having replaced Carlos Alberto Parreira as coach in 2006 despite having no dugout experience. Brazil suffered one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history at home this month after they lost their semi-final 7-1 to eventual champions Germany.

Benefiting Dunga's cause was the fact that he is someone who can trace his footballing lineage within the Brazilian game back 27 years, to when he made his international debut. Over that time Brazil have constantly fretted about how to recapture the halcyon era of Pele and company, who turned the game into an art form between 1958 and 1970, since when fans have lamented a more cautious approach which many feel Dunga personifies.

Early favorite for the post, assuming Brazil did not make a leap of faith in appointing a foreign coach, was ex-Corinthians boss Tite. But the appointment of Gilmar Rinaldi, a reserve goalkeeper on the 1994 team and a close friend, to replace Parreira as technical coordinator, helped Dunga's cause.

"The candidate who is favored in the polls is not always the one who wins," said Dunga, admitting he believed he would have to win over the 80 per cent of observers he estimated were not enthralled at his return.

Marin said the appointment was designed to broach the need for reform yet within continuity. "This choice of Dunga is our project. There has been an exchange of ideas between everyone -- the idea is one of continuity." Dunga's first match in charge will be a September 5 friendly against Colombia in Miami.

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