Ahead of Sunday’s clash against Panama, CBGT takes a look back at the coach’s 100% record that included wins over Argentina, France, Chile, USA and Colombia
||Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour
||Brazil 1-0 Colombia
||Brazil 1-0 Ecuador
||East Rutherford (USA)
||Brazil 2-0 Argentina
||Japan 0-4 Brazil
||Singapore City (Singapore)
||Turkey 0-4 Brazil
||Austria 1-2 Brazil
||Brazil 3-1 France
||Brazil 1-0 Chile
||Brazil 2-0 Mexico
||Sao Paulo (Brazil)
||Brazil 1-0 Honduras
||Porto Alegre (Brazil)
||Brazil 1-0 Costa Rica
||Brasil 4-1 USA
With one year to take stock of the “the 7-1” that brought the curtain down on the World Cup, the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour became a welcome distraction for the Selecao as new coach Dunga sought to implement wholesale changes to both the approach and personnel. It brought immediate success, too, as a more solid, pragmatic side sailed to six consecutive victories.
It all started with a sign of things to come, as new captain Neymar proved the match-winner by netting a sensational free-kick against Colombia in Miami.
That was followed up a few days later with another single-goal victory over Ecuador in East Rutherford as Willian came of age with the Selecao.
Things got even better in Dunga’s first match for which a trophy was up for grabs. On a night when Diego Tardelli and Jefferson looked to have established themselves in the long-term future of Brazil, Argentina were put to the sword in Bejing.
A fourth win arrived days later when Neymar stood up to take his place among the legends of the past with a stunning four-goal haul in Singapore.
He added two more when the Brasil Global Tour resumed in November, inspiring Dunga’s side to back-to-back 4-0 wins.
2014 came to a triumphant end in Vienna as Roberto Firmino went from unknown to household name in Brazil with one swing of his trusty right boot.
The 2015 calendar kicked off in earnest with a meeting with France in Paris that was followed up less than 72 hours by a match against Chile in London. Those first two outings of the post-World Cup 2014 era pitted the Selecao against strong opposition and served to restore some of the confidence that was left at an all-time low by the defeat to Germany in Belo Horizonte.
Dunga sought to usher in an evolution, bringing in a number of new faces as well some old friends. And the year ended with the coach’s perfect Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour record intact.
Below, CBGT revisits our six tour stops of 2015.
|BRAZIL 3-1 FRANCE – 26/03/2015
The year began in March against the nation that dashed Dunga’s hopes of lifting the World Cup for a second time, in 1998. The two captains from Brazil’s 3-0 loss to France sat opposite one another in the dugouts. Though Dunga stressed this game was never about revenge, he would no doubt have taken particular pleasure in exorcising a few of his personal ghosts. Brazil had worked extensively on set pieces in the lead-up to the match, so the coaching staff were left frustrated after Real Madrid man Raphael Varane headed the hosts into a 21st-minute lead.
Chelsea midfielder Oscar was one of the members of the World Cup 2014 squad who survived Dunga’s cull and rewarded his new coach by grabbing the equaliser 20 minutes later, netting his 12th goal for Brazil. The Selecao then found their counter-attacking rhythm as Neymar put them ahead before Luiz Gustavo headed the third to seal a victory that pleased the press back at home. Brazil had their groove back.
|BRAZIL 1-0 CHILE – 29/03/2015
Forward Roberto Firmino was the star of the show in Brazil’s second victory of 2015, upstaging both Neymar and Alexis Sanchez as the Selecao saw off a physical Chile side in London. A fiercely contested match saw Dunga field a much changed line-up due to the limited recovery time available to the players after the France game, with only Jefferson, Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda and Neymar retaining their places.
Douglas Costa and Philippe Coutinho were given chance to impress, as was veteran Robinho – who had netted nine goals in just eight previous games against Chile. Firmino watched from the bench in the first half as the game produced few opportunities for both sides. He was introduced in the second period and made an immediate impact, latching onto a Danilo through-ball to round the goalkeeper and net the only goal of the game. It was a strike that confirmed Firmino’s place for the upcoming Copa America. Brazil were now on a roll, with eight wins in eight games under Dunga.
|BRAZIL 2-0 MEXICO – 07/06/2015
For the first time in 2015, Brazil were forced to take to the field without captain Neymar when they hosted Mexico ahead of the Copa America. The Barcelona star had been busy in Berlin the previous day, writing yet more history as he fired his club side to the Champions League title.
Without him, the Selecao struggled to find any real cohesion going forward. Mexico threatened to cause an upset as Brazil controlled possession but failed to carve out many clear chances. It was a big night for Liverpool’s Phillipe Coutinho, who was given a chance to prove he can be a worthy deputy to Neymar – and it was a chance he grabbed with both hands he scored a wonderful goal before Diego Tardelli netted to ensure Dunga’s 100 pe cent record remained intact. Brazil had feared they would be in for a frosty reception in what was their first game since World Cup 2014, but the locals received their returning stars with open arms.
|BRAZIL 1-0 HONDURAS – 10/06/2015
On a cold and rainy night in Porto Alegre, the Selecao saw few fans brave the elements to turn out at the Beira Rio stadium, where Dunga had begun his career with local side Internacional. It was Brazil’s final match before kicking off their Copa America campaign and they were without right-back Danilo, who suffered an injury against Mexico that would keep him out of the tournament in Chile. Monaco’s Fabinho replaced him in the side and Thiago Silva was dropped in favour of David Luiz. Real Madrid midfielder Casmeiro was also given a chance to impress in midfield.
Neymar was back and made an appearance of the substitutes’ bench in a narrow victory that once again saw Firmino come to Brazil’s rescue. The performance sparked some fresh concerns as Dunga prepared his side for their first competitive match since the World Cup but Firmino once again ensured the winning streak continued, netting the only goal of the game after 32 minutes to give the Selecao victory in Porto Alegre – they had now won ten on the bounce under their new coach.
|BRAZIL 1-0 COSTA RICA – 05/09/2015
The Copa America proved disappointing for Brazil as they exited in the quarter-final following a penalty-shootout defeat to Paraguay. However, by now attentions had already turned to the upcoming World Cup qualification campaign and Dunga made a number of changes to the squad that went to Chile, with the likes of Thiago Silva banished while Hulk returned for the first time in over a year. Kaka also returned, while Gremio’s Marcelo Grohe replaced Jefferson in goal. Santos playmaker Lucas Lima also joined the squad and would make his debut for the national team.
The clash with Costa Rica marked a year since Dunga’s reappointment and it would be the penultimate test before qualification began. With Neymar suspended for the first two qualifiers following a red card against Colombia at Copa America, Hulk inspired the Selecao to victory with the only goal of the game in New Jersey.
|BRAZIL 4-1 USA – 08/09/2015
Brazil ended the year with their most complete performance of 2015, hammering USA 4-1 in Boston with Neymar the star of the show, as he came off the bench at half-time to score twice in their last match before kicking off their World Cup qualifying campaign. Neymar’s Barcelona team-mate Rafinha Alcantara also impressed, scoring a wonderful goal to round off a comprehensive victory at the Gillette Stadium that won back the confidence of the Brazilian media.
2015 on the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour proved a hugely successful year for Dunga and his charges. Now they hoe 2016 will bring just as much success. Next stop, Colorado.