5 things about new Brazil national football coach Dunga

Brazil's new manager Dunga arrives at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Brazil's new manager Dunga arrives at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro on July 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

A week after the World Cup Finals ended, Brazil have appointed their former national captain and one-time former coach Dunga to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari. The 50-year-old will be responsible for lifting Brazil from their humiliating 1-7 World Cup semi-final defeat by eventual winners Germany, in time for a successful Copa America title assault and qualification for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

A familiar name for those who have followed the exploits of the Brazilian national team since the 1990s, here are five interesting facts about the Selecao's new coach.

1. His nickname means Dopey

Dunga's full name is Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri. His nickname is derived from the Portuguese translation of Dopey, a dwarf from the Disney version of the Snow White tale, and was given to him by his uncle due to his short height during his childhood. It was believed that he would be a short adult and the nickname remained in use even after he grew up to be a 1.76m-tall footballer.

2. He played 91 times for Brazil

His international career began in 1983 at the u-20 World Cup. Dunga captained the young Brazilian squad, winning the tournament against Argentina in the final. A year later, he helped Brazil to win a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Dunga then started to get calls for Brazil's main squad, winning the 1989 Copa America by defeating Uruguay at the Maracana Stadium.

In 1990, he was a starter for Brazil at the World Cup 1990. After a lacklustre tournament, Dunga was held responsible, more so than his teammates for the worst campaign at a World Cup since 1966. In the following years, he would be consistently targeted by Brazilian press due to his supposedly thuggish style of playing. This period in Brazil's football history was called "Era Dunga", as according to fans and journalists he symbolised the less than thrilling, slow, and defensive style of the team.

In spite of that, Brazil's new coach Carlos Alberto Parreira kept Dunga as one of the starting XI throughout the 1994 World Cup Qualifiers and Finals. Raí actually started the 1994 World Cup as Brazilian captain but after being allegedly responsible for Brazil's poor performances, he was dropped altogether for Mazinho. Dunga took the captaincy and went on to lift the trophy.

Four years later, although playing in the lower standard J. League in Japan, he captained Brazil once more to the World Cup final where they lost 0-3 to France.

3. He scored only six times for Brazil

He scored once in each of these years: 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997.

4. He turned down the national coaching job in 2000

Dunga was one of those considered to replace Vanderlei Luxemburgo in 2000 as the Brazilian national coach, but refused the offer because he disliked the way in which the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) was organised and managed.

On July 24, 2006, however, Dunga was named as the new national coach of the Brazilian national team as a replacement for Carlos Alberto Parreira, even though he had no prior coaching experience at professional level. However, he made an impressive start with Brazil, winning four of his first five matches.

At the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Brazil made it to the quarter finals where they suffered a 2–1 loss to the Netherlands after having led the game 1–0. After Brazil's exit from the competition, Dunga announced he would stand down as coach, but ended up being dismissed by CBF on July 24, 2010.

5. He's a football pragmatist, not a romantic

Immediately upon his re-appointment as Brazil head coach, Dunga said that, however much football evolves, certain truisms cannot be controverted. “Every coach begins by organising things from the back,” he bluntly asserted.

“Germany were always organised,” he added of the World Cup winners, the clear implication being that defensive organisation is a first building block for success – not fancy footwork 40 metres out.