SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil have nothing to prove in Friday’s friendly against Colombia in Miami despite an embarrassing World Cup exit, said defender Gil who has been called up for the first time.
The Corinthians player watched the humiliating 7-1 defeat by Germany in the semi-finals and 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in the third-place playoff.
But the strapping centre half, one of three uncapped players in Dunga’s squad, said the new coach has the experience to turn Brazil’s fortunes around.
“It’s not about lifting Brazilian football up again,” the 27-year old former Valenciennes player told Reuters before joining the squad in the United States. “Brazilian football doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.”
“Of course, when something happens like what happened in the World Cup some things need to change. But we’re not worried about it because the people in charge of the national side know what needs to be done. A new era is starting and it is going to work out for Brazil.”
Not everyone shares that optimism. Brazil were outclassed by Germany and the Netherlands and were not convincing in many of their other games, including the 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia.
Some Brazilians wanted a foreign coach and a complete overhaul of the national game, which is frequently chaotic.
The leagues do not stop for FIFA friendlies and it is not unusual for games to be decided by sports courts rather than on the field.
As the lack of big name transfers to Europe showed this transfer window, there is a sense Brazil is not producing as many talented youngsters as before.
Dunga, however, agrees with Gil and believes Brazil still have the players to compete at the highest level.
Back for a second spell in charge four years after he was fired for losing to the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final, Dunga has included 10 of the 23 players who were at the 2014 World Cup in his first squad to face Colombia and then Ecuador, in New Jersey, four days later.
The former midfield general told his players Brazil did not become a bad team because of a bad result.
“It is not because we had a negative result that everything is wrong,” he said when announcing his squad last month, adding the caveat, “We need to rethink the way we do things.
Exactly how he will set out his new side is unclear.
However, Chelsea trio Oscar, Willian and Filipe Luis seem set to be included and Atletico Mineiro striker Diego Tardelli looks likely to start up front beside Neymar, the man around whom Dunga’s team will be built.
Gil said he learned of his call up as he was eating breakfast and heard Dunga read out his name on television.
But in what is another worrying sign of the Brazilian Football Confederation’s chronic inability to communicate, the new manager did not speak to him before he arrived in Miami and so Gil said he had no idea how he wanted Brazil to play, much less if he will make his debut.
Some players might see a debut against Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez as daunting but Gil brushed off suggestions he will be stepping up a level from Brazil’s Serie A.
“Not at all,” he said, when asked if the thought concerned him. “I played a year and a half in France against excellent players. Of course these guys are stars but I have international experience, too.
“In Brazil there are great players in every team and so we are used to it, even though it would be wise to pay them (Falcao and Rodriguez) close attention.”
(This version of the story corrects match venue in first paragraph)
Editing by Ken Ferris