Winning vs. a country’s culture

Brazilian coach Carlos Caetano Bledorn “Dunga” Verri has had a successful World Cup run thus far: four matches and four pretty easy wins. For many national coaches, this would lead to general praise from the media and fans.

But not in Brazil. Dunga has been playing with a more defensive-minded system, particularly compared to the attacking-with-flair Brazilian teams of past decades. A quick description of the battle Dunga has been fighting:

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.

Even some of the  country’s former stars, such as Carlos Alberto, captain of Brazil’s 1970 team, have blasted Dunga:

“I am not confident in this group because our national team do not play Brazilian football…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 if Brazil wins a sixth World Cup title, what then? Will the country celebrate in the same way or will it be considered a less-than-great title? Sports fans can be an interesting lot, particularly when they are used to winning.

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