2010 wasn’t much different. The decision to bring Dunga, who hadn’t had any experience with coaching, to lead the Brazilian team to the World Cup found high levels of rejection. Dunga’s team also reflected his style when he was a player: rigid and defensive-minded, where discipline and concentration are a must and the most important aspect is the result. No matter how it comes. It was still pleasant to see some beautiful goals coming out of counter-attacks and long passes, in contrast to Spain style, of short passing and possession football.
While the performances in the 2006 WC were the factor which brought Brazilian fans back to earth, the media made a huge part in slowing the hopes in 2010. Dunga was the total opposite of media friendly. He even managed to swear to a reporter in the middle of a press conference after refusing to answer one of his questions at a press conference. The scene was repeated over and over during the championship, regarding the coach’s heated head as the reason why the Brazilian squad seemed so disjointed in the field. In the end, Dunga took all the (undeserved) blame for failure.
Dunga eventually got the expected boot after the elimination against Netherlands in a game where the team seemingly exploded after a nice start. Missing Elano, who was one of the best players for that Brazil squad, to injury also made his part. Netherlands went on to lose the title for Spain in a close, long and boring game. And it would be pretty ironic to have Netherlands, which brought the apartheid regime to South Africa through the Boers, winning a title in the country.
There was a fuss about who was going to assume the Brazilian NT after Dunga dismissal. The leading candidate was Muricy Ramalho, at the time working for Fluminense. Muricy had been pretty successful in the Brazilian league, winning titles with São Paulo in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and leading the championship with Fluminense (he eventually went on to win it again). The problem is his approach was much more like Dunga. In all fairness, there wasn’t many options in the Brazilian pool for the needed revamp in the NT. People usually thought how the German NT could be used as a model.
Brazil would need a coach who knew how to work and develop youngsters, preferably with an offensive-minded system, something amiss since 1982.
The loss to Italy in 1982 certainly caused a trauma to most Brazilians, even though the result wasn’t taken so hard. The catenaccio employed by Italy was the way to play. Screw beautiful showing; the most important thing is the result. 1986 and 1990 tried that approach and failed. 1994 had a possession football aspect in it, but also had some of catenaccio; the Brazil squad usually sat back after scoring a goal or two, looking for a breach to close the deal in a counter-attack. In 1998 and 2002 they repeated this modus operandi, but in the latter Felipão had better pieces available and better man management skills.
After the 1982 trauma, 2010 brought new ones by the tiki-taka of Spain and the young attacking Germany. Bringing Muricy would be a mistake, because he wouldn’t take any of those approaches. It would be a popular move, as he was “a proven winner” in the Brazilian League system. But the Santos final in 2011 against Barcelona showed how disjointed his squad can be.
Still, Muricy wasn’t released by Fluminense, giving somewhat of a friction between CBF and the club. The second option wasn’t prepared. But long-time friend of Ricardo Teixeira, and president of Corinthians Andrés Sanchez offered his own coach, Mano Menezes, to lead the Brazilian NT.