Brazil coach Dunga has targeted an improved display from his side when they take on Colombia on Wednesday looking to secure a place in the Copa America quarterfinals. The Seleção made a winning start to the competition in Chile, beating Peru 2-1 on Sunday to take Dunga’s perfect record in his second spell in charge of his country to 11 wins in 11 matches. But they needed an injury-time winner from Diego Costa and a display that was hugely reliant on star man Neymar to do so.
Dunga is after a more complete performance in Santiago.
“We have to play better in a technical aspect,” he said, according to the official Copa America website. "We missed a lot of passes against Peru, which is normal for a debut as you're eager to get the win. Let's hone this, and let's hope it's a calmer match, with fewer fouls.”
Brazil last lifted the Copa America trophy in 2007, during Dunga’s first period as coach. But, as much as anything, his remit since being reappointed last summer has been to bring about redemption for the team following a horrific 7-1 defeat to Germany in last year’s World Cup semifinal on home soil. That scarring loss came with Neymar out injured, after the Barcelona forward was the recipient of a strong challenge into his back from Colombia defender Camilo Zúñiga during a fiercely contested quarterfinal match. Dunga, though, has tried to quell the tension ahead of the highly anticipated rematch at Colo-Colo’s Estadio Monumental.
“The way I see it, it was a harsh but normal duel,” he said. “Zúñiga lost his coordination. He couldn't stop so he fouled. I always think that no player goes into a tackle with a malicious thought; to try to take a colleague out of the match.”
A 2-1 defeat in Fortaleza ended what was Colombia’s best ever run in a World Cup, yet there remained plenty of confidence that further bright times lay ahead, thanks to a talented degeneration led by James Rodríguez. However, the team made a hugely disappointing start to their attempts to deliver the country just a second ever Copa America title, when going down limply to a 1-0 defeat to Venezuela.
It leaves Colombia in the unwelcome position of realistically needing to get a positive result against Brazil in order to remain in contention for a place in the quarterfinals ahead of their final Group C game against Peru. And Zúñiga, who will go up against old foe Neymar once again on Wednesday, is not expecting things to be easy.
"From the beginning we knew it would be a complicated Copa America -- no one wants to give anything away,” he told Colombian publication El Tiempo. “Now we have to think about Brazil. Our idea is to prepare ourselves well, we had a few days to try and improve on what we did wrong against Venezuela. To get the three points against Brazil is going to be complicated.”
Much of the focus since Colombia’s opening defeat has centered on their formation, which has shifted from a one-striker system at the last World Cup to two men up front with the return of striker Radamel Falcao. Both Falcao, who is expected to complete a move to Chelsea following the Copa America, and fellow striker Carlos Bacca struggled to make an impact against Venezuela. Coach José Pékerman, though, wouldn’t be drawn on whether he plans to make changes.
Kickoff time: 8 p.m. EDT
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