Shades of Klinsmann as Brazil appoint Dunga
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 24 (Reuters) - Brazil took a leaf out of Germany's book on Monday by putting a man with no previous coaching experience in charge of their national side.
Jurgen Klinsmann's success at leading Germany to third place in the World Cup, two years after a humiliating first-round exit in Euro 2004, has inspired the five-times world champions to put the untested Dunga into the hot seat.
It is Brazil's second such experiment in recent times and Dunga will be hoping to fare better than Paulo Roberto Falcao who lasted one unhappy year in 1990-91.
Dunga, who replaces Carlos Alberto Parreira, takes over with Brazilian football at a crossroads.
They went into the World Cup expected to extend their dominance over the world game by winning a sixth world title, but their quarter-final exit at the hands of France has put a different complexion on their future.
Parreira's reliance on his ageing group effectively turned the national team into a closed shop in the last 18 months, barring the way to the country's up-and-coming talent.
Many of the players who looked promising one year ago have since departed Brazil, disappearing into relative obscurity with middle-ranking European clubs.
The coaching outlook was similarly bleak with Dunga himself one of a very small number of candidates for the job.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo, the favourite, was seen as too controversial, especially as he fell out with Ronaldinho during an unhappy two-year stint in charge from 1998 to 2000.
Paulo Autuori, the only other serious candidate, may have seen his chances spoiled by an unsuccessful two years in charge of Peru which ended last year.
One of Dunga's first and most difficult decisions will be whether Ronaldo should keep his place in the side following his lumbering performances at the World Cup.
While he rebuilds, however, Dunga will be expected to get Brazil back to winning ways, starting with their friendly away to Norway on Aug. 16.
Dunga experienced both the joy and pain of representing the world's most successful international team during his playing days.
In 1990, he was made the scapegoat after Brazil crashed out of the World Cup in Italy in the second round.
It became known as the 'Dunga Era' after commentators accused Brazil of replacing their traditional flair with the hard-tackling approach symbolised by Dunga.
'They needed someone to blame. I was chosen,' he said.
Dunga, however, bounced back, worked on his passing and long-range shooting and returned as captain in 1994.
He was determined and snarling as ever but his play had a more refined touch which helped him cast off the stereotype as a player who merely used brute force.
Brazil went on to win the World Cup for the first time in 24 years with Dunga lifting the trophy.
'If I remained a prisoner of the past, worried about the criticism, I would have been better off retiring,' he said.
'I knew the critics were wrong but there was no point in talking, I had to show this on the field.'
With the interests of sponsors, television networks, 180 million ordinary Brazilians and some of the world's top players to juggle, he will have to be even more resourceful over the next few months.