7 September 2014 21:06
Brazil’s road to redemption reaches phase two on Tuesday as they take on Ecuador at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The five-time world champions crashed out of the recent home World Cup at the semi-final stage when suffering an embarrassing 7-1 loss to eventual winners Germany.
Insult was then added to injury as the Netherlands cruised to a 3-0 triumph in the third-place play-off.
But with coach Dunga having returned to take the reins for a second time having led them to the 2007 Copa America title, Brazil have entered a new era as they attempt to re-establish themselves at the top of the footballing pile.
The former midfielder started well, with Neymar grabbing the only goal with a stunning 83rd-minute free-kick as the Selecao beat a Colombia side who caught the eye so impressively in the World Cup.
Their talisman will no doubt be central to Brazil’s hopes again when he dons the captain’s armband for the second successive game against Ecuador due to the absence of regular skipper Thiago Silva.
However, one man who will not be part of Dunga’s plans going forward is Roma full-back Maicon, who was axed from the team on Sunday following what the Brazilian Football Confederaton (CBF) described as an “internal problem”.
“I thank him for coming to the Selecao, but today he was disconnected from the delegation,” technical director Gilmar Rinaldi was quoted as saying by the Brazilian media.
“We thank him for his services… It was an internal problem, I will not answer questions about it and would like to kindly ask that you do not ask the players.”
Monaco’s Fabinho has been called up in Maicon’s place and could feature.
But Paris Saint-Germain centre-back David Luiz is out of the clash after suffering a knee injury against Colombia.
That leaves Dunga facing a defensive headache against an Ecuador side who head into the friendly brimming with confidence, having beaten Bolivia 4-0 on Saturday.
Goals from Christian Noboa, Juan Cazares, Enner Valencia and Junior Sornoza sealed a comfortable triumph.
That was their first game under a new coach, too, with Sixto Vizuete having taken the reins on an interim basis following the departure of Reinaldo Rueda.
A win over Brazil could prove a significant feather in his cap given Vizuete has only been given the job on a temporary basis until January, when the Ecuador Football Federation (FEF) will hold a presidential election.
History is not on the side of Ecuador, who have managed just two wins in matches against Brazil.
The last meeting between the sides came during the 2011 Copa America, as Brazil won 4-2.