Dunga out to show Brazil's depth

BY foxsports • March 1, 2010

With Luis Fabiano already sidelined ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Ireland, Brazil coach Dunga hopes the rest of his stars will go back to their clubs without any injuries.

Facing a fast-moving, strong tackling Irish squad at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, Dunga doesn't want to anger the club coaches by sending them back hobbling with knee, foot and ankle injuries and then head for the World Cup with similar problems.

"The most important thing for us is to send the players to their clubs without injuries," he said on the eve of the game. "Some played Sunday, some a few hours ago and players might be tired.

"We will make some substitutions so that as many players as possible can play. We also don't want players to be injured when they go to the World Cup."

Dunga is fine-tuning his squad with the World Cup starting in a little over 100 days. Although Luis Fabiano will return once he has recovered from a pulled pectoral muscle he picked up playing for Sevilla, the recall of Ronaldinho and Pato are far less certain.

The pair have returned to form and Dunga has said everyone is still in contention for the June 11-July 11 event in South Africa. But Dunga picked Wolfsburg's Grafite after Luis Fabiano withdrew from the game at Arsenal's 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium.

Even without three of Brazil's biggest names missing, Dunga can still call on Adriano, Nilmar and Robinho with Kaka, Elano and Julio Baptista available to support from behind.

Brazil's first three opponents at the World Cup are North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal, and hopes a competitive game against the Irish - who tackle hard and play at a fast pace - will be ideal preparation.

"It's an important game for Brazil, especially because it's the last friendly for us," said Gilberto Silva, a former Arsenal midfielder. "This counts. We are playing together for the last time. The coach has been watching everyone at their clubs. It's important that everyone keeps their shape, and fitness. We don't want to lose time when we get there having to recover our fitness level.

"Ireland deserve to be at the World Cup. I feel sorry for the way they didn't qualify and the way they were knocked out. But sometimes these things happen and even though they aren't there, it will be a tough game and a tough opponent tomorrow."

The Irish failed to qualify for the World Cup after Thierry Henry's blatant handball in a playoff helped France go through instead.

Now, Giovanni Trapattoni's players hope to show that they are over that heartbreaking moment and will set out to make a mark by beating the heavily fancied Brazilians.

They will have to do it without top striker Robbie Keane, however.

The Celtic striker, currently on loan from Tottenham until the end of the season, has withdrawn from the game after injuring his knee while playing in Sunday's 1-0 loss to Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.

Ireland also lost central defender Richard Dunne on Monday. The Aston Villa player hurt a leg muscle in Sunday's League Cup final loss to Manchester United.

"Until this morning, I had hoped to put out all of the players who were in the last game against France," Trapattoni said Monday. "But, at the last minute, we are now missing Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne.

"We will start with the experienced players, because to put all the youngsters in against a team like this would be dangerous. Brazil are a great team, every player can score a goal, they have so many creative and technical players. We can also not let such great players like Kaka have too much space."

The match is at Emirates Stadium partly because most of the Irish squad play in England, and up to 40,000 London-based Irish and Brazilian fans are expected to attend.

The other reason is that the Gaelic Athletic Association, which handles games at Dublin's Croke Park, declined to negotiate with the promotional company for Brazil.


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