Nick Dorrington

Brazil come to South Africa unbeaten in just under a year, but a number of draws and poor performances in that sequence give rise to the notion that they are not the all conquering nation they once were. Nevertheless, they look on course for automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup, and the holders have every reason to believe that they can go a long way in the Confederations Cup.



Dunga was drafted in following Brazil’s disappointing 2006 World Cup performance, tasked with kicking some life into an under-performing team. It is his first coaching position and his inexperience has shown at times, as he has struggled to get the team playing with much fluidity. Media and public perception of him is generally negative, despite the country winning the 2007 Copa America, and he will be under intense pressure to produce at the World Cup next summer.

Players to Watch

Julio Cesar – Goalkeeper – Inter Milan (Italy)

Brazil have been saved from embarrassment on a number of occasions in the World Cup qualifying campaign by the superb reactions of their goalkeeper, and Julio Cesar will have a vital part to play if they are to succeed in South Africa.

Kaka – Attacking Midfielder – Real Madrid (Spain)

Kaka is the first Galactico of the second era of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, and the most expensive footballer in the world. With Ronaldinho left out, Kaka will have a bigger share of the creative onus on his back, and will see this as an opportunity to show Dunga that he is the man to lead Brazil into the next World Cup.

Luis Fabiano – Striker – Sevilla (Spain)

He may not have continued his superb 2007/08 strike-rate for his club, but Luis Fabiano has strongly established himself as Brazil’s de-facto frontman in recent times, scoring regularly in World Cup qualifying and bagging a hat-trick against Portugal in a friendly late last year. He will be keen to consolidate this position with a strong showing in the Confederations Cup.

Nilmar – Striker – Internacional (Brazil)

Nilmar is one of the best players in Brazil and having recently come to international attention thanks to his amazing solo effort against Corinthians, will see this tournament as a platform on which to prove his talent to the world. Quick footed and a cool finisher, Nilmar has all the attributes to make a successful stab at European football and could very well be on the move should he impress sufficiently in South Africa.


Brazil’s standing in the football world dictates that they are always among the favourites for any competition they enter.

Having comfortably disposed of Italy in a recent friendly, Brazil will be confident of topping Group B, and in doing so would most likely avoid a clash with Spain at the semi-final stage. That such a path exists has not gone unnoticed in the local media, and the expectation is that Brazil should at least reach the final.

Their 4-1 success over Argentina to win the 2005 competition showed that they take the Confederations Cup seriously, and Dunga could well see a victory in South Africa as a perfect way to silence his critics in the build-up to next year’s World Cup. Whether they have what it takes should they come across an in-form Spain is open to debate, but it would be foolish to write Brazil off as they will definitely be there or there abouts come the 28th June.

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