After Cup, Brazil seeks redemption
Barely two months after their shocking 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinals of the tournament they hosted, there is a new look to the Selecao with Dunga, in his second stint, hoping that fresh faces will be less affected by July’s traumatic exit.
Judging from the mood on Thursday at the team’s plush hotel on Brickell Key near downtown Miami, the coach’s message of not dwelling on the past has been embraced.
“Dunga told all of us that we have to hold our heads up, put the past behind us, show our ability and that we deserve to be national team players,” said midfielder Oscar. “It is not easy to put the Germany defeat out of our minds, it is difficult, but we have to work and to show our value.”
Indeed, there was a relaxed look about players as they chatted with reporters even though Friday’s opponents, a Colombia team out to avenge their 2-1 loss to Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals, will be a tough opponent.
Striker Radamel Falcao, who moved on Monday to Manchester United from Monaco, is back with Colombia side after missing the World Cup with an injury and will team up against one of the success stories of the tournament in James Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s performances in Brazil earned him a move to Real Madrid, but while the thousands of Miami-based Colombian fans expected at SunLife Stadium will be keen to see the six-goal Golden Boot winner, the rest of the world will be looking for signs of recovery from the five-time world champions.
Brazil left-back Filipe Luis, who joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid for 16 million pounds ($26 million) during the offseason, is one of those who missed out on the World Cup and has now been given a chance to claim the spot that has been owned by Dani Alves.
For the 29-year-old, who has four caps, the only way to get the Germany defeat fully out of the system is with results.
“I think we have to just think about winning, then the good football and the confidence will come quickly. Then Brazil will recover our identity,” he said. “Dunga has made some tactical improvements and he told us that we have to win and that we have to dream about being big players.”
Among those axed from the World Cup squad are strikers Jo and Fred and midfielder Paulinho, while Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho will get a chance after missing the tournament.
Following Friday’s game, Brazil heads to New York to face Ecuador on Tuesday.