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Brazil v Korea DPR - Preview
Brazil coach Dunga urged journalists to stop "hitting and attacking" him as he prepares for his first World Cup finals match in the dugout against North Korea at Ellis Park tonight.
Dunga, who captained his country to the world crown in 1994, has come under fire from the Brazilian press and public for adopting a pragmatic approach which puts winning above the 'futebol bonito' - beautiful football - which the country is famed for.
The game against the Koreans could be a great example of the demands on Dunga - a win alone will not be considered good enough, the team will be expected to win with style.
Dunga said: "I support the team from the morning to the evening and if I respond and say something a bit out of turn they are going to say I am bitter. You guys (the media) hit me, you attack me from morning to the evening and if I just answer, you tell me I am out of line."
Asked if he drew any strength from the friction with the media, he added: "I don't think there is anything positive you can draw from it. You may not like my answer, but you can criticise me for 24 hours, I can only criticise you for one second, and that is the crux of the matter."
Dunga, a holding midfielder himself in his playing days, is most widely criticised for his use of two anchor men with little or no flair - usually Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo. He does have star man Kaka fit, however, after an injury-disrupted season with Real Madrid, while Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar has overcome a back problem.
Brazil are in a difficult group, with Portugal and the Ivory Coast vying with the five-time champions for a place in the last 16 and Dunga admitted there has never been a time in his reign as national coach when he has not felt nervous.
He added: "Without any doubt every day as Brazil coach I feel nervous. It is four years since I've been coaching the Brazil team but I always feel butterflies in my stomach. I am wearing Brazilian colours and I know a lot of people would like to be in my place."
North Korea are, on the face of it, the weakest team by far in Group G but Dunga will take nothing for granted against them.
"They are a very quick team, a team that plays close passing football, rapid football and we are going to have to find a way to tackle their style of play," he added.
"We have to congratulate the Asian teams, they have evolved tremendously over the years. They are no longer the weaker team. Sometimes we believe that a certain team is the best, but football does not lie. We have to respect our opponent and do everything in our grasp to win."
North Korea have been taking advice from the team which reached the last eight of the 1966 World Cup - and coach Kim Jong-hun believes the current generation have the mentality to beat Brazil. Kim refuses to accept the match is purely a damage-limitation exercise and revealed that some of the team from 1966 - when North Korea beat Italy 1-0 in Middlesbrough before a 5-3 quarter-final defeat to Portugal at Goodison Park - have been an inspiration to his men.
He said: "We met them before we came here, while we were training. They came quite often to the training camps and gave us advice and encouragement and told us what it would be like and gave us encouragement so that we could make our great leader Kim Jong-il very proud.
"When we meet Brazil it could be a difficult match but nevertheless the three points we get for winning the match will not be just for Brazil, they will be precious for us as well.
"Our goal is to gain those three victory points and that our team truly becomes one and we exploit our full potential."
Asked how his team - ranked 85th in the world - could possibly overcome number one-ranked Brazil, Kim said: "Our players are very qualified, they are very talented and they don't fall behind any other players in the world.
"Their talent and quality will be shown and this will bring great happiness to our leader Kim Jong-il and show that people of Korea DPR have a strong mentality.
"Of course Brazil are a strong team, they are a perennial favourite. But we have a strong mentality and that is why I think we will prevail."
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