A lot has been made in the English press about Dunga’s selections in his first few matches containing load of “unknowns” and “nobodies“. There was then general surprise when those “nobodies” dismantled Argentina in Sunday’s “friendly“. Those same “nobodies” (plus the world famous Ronaldinho and Kaká) beat Wales tonight 2-0 (goals from 18-year-old fullback Marcelo and Vagner Love). So who are these “nobodies” who have started to remind us of what Brazil can really do?
Elano, Daniel Carvalho, Vagner Love and Dudu are all names with which Brazilians have long been familiar but which the English press assumed were not much good because they played in countries such as the Ukraine and Russia. The argument seemed to be that if they were any good, surely they would have been playing in Europe’s bigger leagues - England, Spain, Italy or Germany.
Shortly after Porto’s Champion’s League victory, Dynamo Moscow bought half the team - Costinha, Maniche, Derlei, and later Seitaridis, all widely acknowledged to be great players. So why should Elano, Vagner Love or Daniel Carvalho be any worse? Vagner and Carvalho were key players in CSKA’s UEFA Cup triumph in 2005. None of the three were debutants on Sunday. Vagner starred with Palmeiras before moving to CSKA for £6 million. Carvalho was a star at Internacional while Elano was part of Santos’ successful young squad before moving to ambitious Ukrainian outfir Shakhtar Donetsk. The international careers of all three pre-dated their moves east but were then cut short as previous coach Carlos Alberto Parreira tended to focus on the leagues he knew.
Dunga should be applauded for his willingness to look beyond the norm. He knows that Brazilian clubs and players are desperate for money and Russian football is currently flooded with cash. Unlike previous coaches he is not punishing talented players who have moved to less glamorous leagues for purely economic reasons.