Previous
AS Roma
CSKA Moscow
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Manchester City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajax Amsterdam
Paris Saint-Germain
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Barcelona
Apoel Nicosia
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Chelsea
Schalke 04
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
NK Maribor
Sporting Lisbon
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Shakhtar Donetsk
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Porto
BATE Borisov
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Blackburn Rovers
Derby County
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Nottingham Forest
Fulham
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Barnsley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
New York Red Bulls
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Bayamon FC
America
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Municipal
Real Espana
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Huachipato
U. Católica
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
César Vallejo
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
River Plate
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Libertad
Barcelona
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Defensa y Justicia
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nueva Chicago
Boca Unidos
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Huracán
Crucero del Norte
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldosivi
Douglas Haig
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Guarini A. Franco
Ferro Carril Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
All Boys
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Patronato
Atlético Tucumán
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sarmiento de Junín
Santamarina
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
Instituto de Córdoba
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Correcaminos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Altamira
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Lobos BUAP
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
Veracruz
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
U.A.N.L
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U. de G.
Atlas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Atletico Paranaense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
EC Vitória
Fluminense FC
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Figueirense FC
Criciúma
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Internacional
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Botafogo
Bahia
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
São Paulo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Flamengo
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Inti Gas Deportes
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Western Sydney Wanderers
0
0
LIVE 46'
Leg 1
Game Details
Bay United
Mamelodi Sundowns
Postp
Game Details
Chippa United
Orlando Pirates
Postp
Game Details
Free State Stars
Moroka Swallows
Postp
Game Details
Mpumalanga Black Aces
Ajax Cape Town
Postp
Game Details
Silver Stars
Pretoria Univ
Postp
Game Details
SuperSport United
Bloem Celtic
Postp
Game Details
Alajuelense
Belen
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
La Equidad
8:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Atlético Junior
Llaneros
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Once Caldas
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Independiente Medellín
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Cucuta
12:45 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Next

Duarte: Could Coutinho boost Brazil?

Brazil Aug 14, 2014
Read

Duarte: Dunga's return is complicated

Brazil Jul 21, 2014
Read

Brazil will be better prepped for 2018

Brazil Jul 15, 2014
Read
 Posted by James Young
Aug 20, 2014

Belo-based trio define Dunga's Selecao

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Shaka Hislop discuss Dunga's squad selection for Brazil's upcoming friendlies.

Following the dispiriting hiring of former player agent Gilmar Rinaldi as technical director and the underwhelming return of Dunga as national team coach, Brazil's brave new dawn has so far shone as brightly as a 40-watt bulb. Given such straitened footballing circumstances, the announcement of the first "Dunga Redux" squad yesterday was met with general, if somewhat lukewarm, approval among the Brazilian media.

If the exclusion of 13 players from the squad that turned everybody else's "Copa das Copas" ("the best World Cup of them all," to use Brazil president Dilma Rousseff's tagline) into a Cup of Woe for the hosts was the glass looking half full, then the retention of 10 players -- including 33-year-old Maicon and whipping boy Hulk -- made the same receptacle look in serious need of topping up. That said, the selection of bright attacking midfielders such as Philippe Coutinho, Ricardo Goulart, Everton Ribeiro and Diego Tardelli -- and the blessed absence of a lumbering centre-forward like Fred or Jô -- was widely applauded, even if it exposed Brazil's lack of options in the latter position as much as a desire for tactical innovation.

"The good news is that the squad isn't packed with defensive midfielders, and that there are more creative players," said ESPN's Paulo Vinicius Coelho in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper. If Brazil are to return to their previous dominance then "players who can dribble, and are good technically, will be fundamental," he added.

Ribeiro has grown from a left-back into a well-rounded attacking threat.
Ribeiro has grown from a left-back into a well-rounded attacking threat.

One place where Dunga's list will have been greeted warmly is the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte, stage of the now fabled "Meltdown at the Mineirão."

The selection of Cruzeiro players Goulart and Ribeiro and Atlético Mineiro's Tardelli is recognition of the progress made by the city's two biggest clubs in recent years. Until San Lorenzo won the 2014 edition of South American football's biggest crown last week, Belo Horizonte was home to both the Copa Libertadores holders (Atlético) and reigning Brasileirão champs (Cruzeiro). And Cruzeiro currently lead this year's title race without so far having needed to break into much of a sweat.

- Story: Neymar, Coutinho headline Brazil squad
- Fernando Duarte: Dunga's squad offers redemption
- Tim Vickery: Brazil refuses to evolve?
- Dunga: Neymar epitome of Brazilian football

Perhaps the best known of the three players outside Brazil is Everton Ribeiro. After starting off as a left-back with Corinthians, he had morphed into an attacking wide-player by the time Cruzeiro paid Coritiba 1 million pounds for his services in 2013. As quick with the ball tied to his foot as he is without it, his goal against Flamengo in the Copa do Brasil was perhaps the prettiest of last year's Brazilian domestic season. He was also voted the league's best player as Cruzeiro romped to the title.

While Ricardo Goulart (currently Serie A's top scorer) may lack a touch of his teammate's grace, he is bigger and stronger than Ribeiro and can also play as a centre-forward. "He's aggressive and competitive. ... He gets into the area well so he can be a surprise element, and he's a good finisher," Dunga said yesterday.

Goulart might be the answer to Brazil's lack of quality at the centre-forward position.
Goulart might be the answer to Brazil's lack of quality at the centre-forward position.

Skillful, athletic attacking midfielders who pass the ball smoothly and know where the goal is? The similarity between Joachim Low's Brazil-slayers and Goulart was not lost on some. "Ribeiro really reminds me of Ozil, and Goulart is like Muller. They complement each other well," wrote 1970 World Cup winner Tostão of the Cruzeiro pair in the Folha de São Paulo this morning. Atletico fans, meanwhile, will not care to be reminded that Goulart came close to signing with "Galo" when he left Goiás at the end of 2012; some sources even announced the deal as confirmed.

Diego Tardelli also fits the "Vorsprung Durch Attacking Midfielders" model. Named after one of Italy's goalscorers in the 1982 World Cup win, he can play in any of the attacking positions, giving him a most modern versatility. Seen as talented but wayward during spells at São Paulo and Flamengo, he exploded as a striker with Atlético in 2009 and 2010, scoring 73 goals in 114 games during his first spell with the club. He spent the next two years in Russia (with Anzhi) and Qatar (Al-Gharafa) before returning to Belo Horizonte, playing out wide as Galo won the Libertadores.

"He's the link between the spectacular passes of Ronaldinho, the speed of Bernard and Jô up front," wrote Tostão of Tardelli's role in the team. "Tardelli is not a centre-forward, a creative midfielder or a winger. He's a mixture of all three. He gives and goes, dribbles, can pass and scores goals."

Tardelli's scoring touch -- 73 goals in 114 games for Atletico Mineiro -- is an asset for Brazil.
Tardelli's scoring touch -- 73 goals in 114 games for Atletico Mineiro -- is an asset for Brazil.

The call-up of the three Belo Horizonte-based players caps a remarkable couple of years for the city's football, particularly at a time when Rio de Janeiro's clubs have lurched from one crisis to another -- Vasco da Gama are currently in Serie B, while Botafogo and Flamengo, both in financial turmoil, often seem intent on joining on them -- and not a single team from São Paulo managed to qualify for this year's Libertadores.

It is an impressive transformation from 2011 when, forced to play outside Belo Horizonte because of World Cup stadium rebuilding work, both Atlético and Cruzeiro came perilously close to relegation. Things began to change when "Galo" made the simultaneously thrilling (and alarming) announcement that they had signed Ronaldinho in 2012, then on the ups after a disastrous spell with Flamengo. "This will show them there's a proper team on this side of the mountains," said Atlético president Alexandre Kalil, a reference to the geographic division that separates the unprepossessing city from Brazil's traditional footballing, financial and media powerbases of Rio and São Paulo.

Ronaldinho's arrival -- and Atlético's ensuing progress -- forced Cruzeiro to redouble their own efforts, and the club signed a number of key players in addition to Goulart and Ribeiro. The results have been spectacular -- Cruzeiro are currently by some distance the best footballing side in Brazil.

Dunga's squad offers a compelling mix of veterans and players worthy of a big break.
Dunga's squad offers a compelling mix of veterans and players worthy of a big break.

Belo Horizonte's heightened profile is not just down to its clubs, either. The city played host to Brazil's exciting Confederations Cup semifinal victory over Uruguay last year and was also the scene of one of the biggest, and most violent, of the political protest rallies that took place during the tournament, when more than 100,000 people marched on the Mineirão on the day of the Japan versus Mexico game.

This summer Chile, Uruguay and Argentina were based in or around the city for the World Cup, while six out of the eight teams that played first-round games at the Mineirão progressed to the knockout stage. No one is likely to forget the drama of the host nation's Round of 16 penalty shootout win over Chile at the stadium on June 28 -- or the remarkable events of that Brazil versus Germany semifinal just a few days later.

While there is no doubt that Goulart, Ribeiro and Tardelli have earned their call-ups, it remains to be seen how they deal with the step-up to international football (though Tardelli, who is already 29, played in a few games under Dunga in 2009 and 2010). "It's difficult to know where the Campeonato Brasileiro sits in an international context," wrote Paulo Vinicius Coelho, "so it's hard to know how Ribeiro or Goulart will perform."

If they can reproduce just a little of the footballing success that Belo Horizonte has enjoyed recently, however, they should do just fine.

James Young

James Young has lived in Brazil for the past nine years and writes about the country and its football for The Independent, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, The Blizzard and others. His collection of short stories and blog writings set in Recife, "A Beer Before Lunch," is available from Amazon.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.