Dunga closes Brazil practice in unusual move

Brazil closed its practice for the second straight day on Sunday

– an unusual move that surprised even some of the players.

Brazil is usually one of the most open teams to fans and media,

but coach Dunga has been trying to keep the team sealed off ahead

of its opener against North Korea next Tuesday.

No Brazilian official said why Sunday’s practice was closed, and

not even the players were aware of the change.

“We just found out that it was going to be closed now,” Brazil

right back Maicon said. “Maybe he wants to try some different

things with the team.”

More than 300 journalists were following the Brazilian team, and

up until Saturday, they had watched all practices in their

entirety.

“It’s the coach’s right,” reserve midfielder Ramires said.

“It helps. It keeps the opponents from knowing details about our

team.”

Prior to the media shutout, fans had been banned as Brazil

sought to avoid a repeat of the frenzied atmosphere that some

players and officials blamed for the team’s quarterfinal

elimination in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Then, thousands of

fans were allowed to nearly all of Brazil’s training sessions and a

fan zone was set up near the team’s base Weggis, Switzerland.

“I would like to have all practices open to the fans,” Dunga

said ahead of the World Cup. “But because of what happened in 2006

we have to protect ourselves.”

Players were not worried that the changes would alienate

supporters.

“Dunga’s team has already won the fans, it won’t affect

anything,” Maicon said. “It’s a closed practice so the team can

have a good opener and make the fans happy.”

After playing North Korea, five-time champion Brazil will face

the Ivory Coast and then Portugal in the tough Group G.