RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Brazil coach Dunga’s head was on the block again on Thursday after a miserable evening on and off the field for the five-times world champions.
Devoid of ideas and creativity, Brazil were held to a goalless World Cup qualifying draw at home to a 10-man Bolivia team which had shipped 16 goals in losing their previous four away games.
Off the field, a paltry crowd estimated at 20,000 watched the game at the spanking new Joao Havelange stadium, which was built for last year’s Panamercian Games and has a capacity of just under 40,000.
The dismal attendance was a severe embarrassment for the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), which placed a large emphasis on the country’s passion for the sport when making its successful bid to host the 2014 World Cup.
The low turnout was blamed on a combination of the late kick off time in a city notorious for its high crime rate, high ticket prices and disenchantment with Dunga’s team.
The cheapest tickets cost 100 reais ($55) and the match started at the traditional time of 9.50 pm, immediately after the end of the last of rights-holders Globo television’s three nightly soap operas.
After the match, under-fire Dunga, given a brief respite after Sunday’s 3-0 win in Chile, had to field the questions on his future with Brazil which have become almost routine in the last few months.
“I‘m going to continue my work, as agreed with the (CBF) president,” he said, repeating almost word for word the answers he gave after the Olympic team, which he also coached, lost 3-0 to Argentina in the semi-finals in Beijing last month.
”We are going to encounter difficulties, this is normal,“ he said. ”It’s never been easy for Brazil in the World Cup qualifiers.
”In 2001, we qualified in the last match. In 1993, we qualified in the last match. So it’s no bed of roses.
“In the games against Brazil, our opponents mark everyone, sit back and make our job more difficult.”
The media reacted with predictable fury after Brazil barely created a chance against the table-propping Bolivians.
“No football, no public and no goals,” said the influential daily O Globo, describing the performance as disgraceful.
Brazil are second in the standings but have won only three of their eight games.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Buenos Aires)
Editing by Dave Thompson