TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (Reuters) - Having won the 1994 World Cup with a defensive team and failed with an attacking game in 2006, former Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira takes an almost fatherly view when considering Dunga’s tactics for this year’s finals.
Parreira, in charge of World Cup hosts South Africa, said in an interview with Reuters he believes tactics aimed at obtaining results are the best route for Brazil’s bid to win a record sixth world title in the finals starting on June 11.
With Dunga as captain, Parreira’s 1994 team won Brazil’s fourth crown in the United States with defence their strong point.
In contrast, when he formed the so-called magic quadrangle of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ronaldo and Adriano in Germany four years ago to play an attacking game, Brazil were eliminated by France in the quarter-finals.
“To go forward and lose? Brazil are a team that score many goals, concede few goals, so that’s perfect,” Parreira said.
“They’re a competitive, tightly knit, well organised. Without the ball they know how to occupy space. Today, European teams find it hard to get in among our players, there are always eight behind the ball and when they attack they go forward with a lot of quality.
“One thing I like about (Dunga’s) team is that they’re very similar to that of 1994,” said the 67-year-old Parreira with a grin.
Appointed to succeed Parreira after the 2006 finals in Germany, former captain Dunga gave his Brazil a similar game to the way he played, at times using three holding midfielders and relying on counter-attacks to score.
Despite criticism from fans and media who favour the attacking instincts of the Brazilian player, Dunga steered his country back to the top of the FIFA rankings, though they have since dropped to second behind Spain.
His team won the 2007 Copa America and last year’s Confederations Cup and beat top rivals like Argentina, Italy, England and Portugal.
“Football coaches must be backed by results. Dunga had obvious difficulties at first due to his lack of experience but I have just been with Dunga and I felt his calm knowing what he wants.
“The team are responding on the pitch and the results prove that. I think Brazil will be ready for the Cup,” Parreira said.
Parreira, who will be coaching at his sixth World Cup, is back home in Brazil with a South African squad of 29 for a month’s training and friendlies as preparation for his team.
Hosts South Africa are in one of the toughest groups with Mexico, France and Uruguay and Parreira will have the squad at his disposal for nearly three months.
He said it was essential to prepare well to achieve the goal of reaching the second round.
“(The rivals) will be coming at us so we’ll have to well prepared to withstand the pressure and know how to use the counter-attack. Whoever we face will want to beat South Africa, who are the weakest team in the group.
“But the group can have a surprise, we can be the surprise of the Cup,” said Parreira.
South Africa are unbeaten in five matches since Parreira resumed charge near the end of last year — having handed the reins to compatriot Joel Santana in 2008 when his wife fell ill - but with only one win.
Parreira believes the changes in coach, including his return after Santana was sacked for poor results, interrupted the progress he had managed with the team which he now needs to rebuild.
“With me the team played more loosely, with Joel they had other characteristics, with three central midfielders, they were more contained,” he said.
“The last great match the team had was against Paraguay when we won 3-0, playing in a relaxed manner, passing the ball. If there had been more continuity I’m sure the team would be more consistent in that type of game I like.”
Parreira said this would almost certainly be his last job as a coach. After the World Cup he plans to return home. “I want to look after my little grandchildren a bit, I miss them a lot.”
Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; editing by Justin Palmer; to query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org