Responsibility for propelling Brazil to a historic first men’s Olympic football title on home turf at Rio 2016 will belong to 1994 World Cup winner and current national team coach Dunga, it has been confirmed.
The 51-year-old led the team to bronze at Beijing 2008, which came during a previous stint as national team manager between 2006 and 2010 also encompassing 2007 Copa América and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup titles and a quarter-final finish at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Despite being removed from the post after that performance, he returned to the national team job to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari in the aftermath of Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to eventual winners Germany at last summer’s home World Cup.
Since then, they have won all eight of their fixtures, with Colombia, Argentina, France and Chile among the beaten sides and the team now focused upon the 2015 Copa América starting next month in Chile.
But, despite five World Cup titles, Brazil has never won an Olympic gold medal in the sport, having taken silver medals at Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988 and London 2012, in addition to bronze at Atlanta 1996, as well as Beijing.
The final defeat at London 2012, where they lost 2-1 to Mexico under former coach Mano Menezes, was particularly heartbreaking given the strength of the team, which included star players Neymar, Hulk, Thiago Silva and Oscar.
Neymar, the Barcelona forward who is surely Brazil’s best known athlete across any sport, has already declared his intention to be one of the three permitted players aged over 23 in the squad this time around.
Matches are due to take place across Brazil during Rio 2016, with the seven venues to be used consisting of the Maracanã Stadium and Estádio Olímpico João Havelange in Rio de Janeiro, the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, the Arena Amazônia in Manaus, the Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasília, the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, and the Itaquera Arena in Sao Paulo.
One challenge for Dunga could be the availability of some of his top players, given that competition is scheduled from August 3 to 19, meaning it will clash with the start of most European domestic seasons.