Condemned to win; condemned to do it by entertaining. At every FIFA World Cup the pressure is on Brazil to deliver glory for fans who believe the trophy is their birthright.
The Seleção did indeed get to keep the original Jules Rimet Trophy after Pele inspired them to a third tournament success against Italy in 1970, but the cup has since been stolen, believed melted down. Victory in South Africa this summer would complete a second hat-trick of trophies and would also allow Brazil to keep up their unique record of having won the competition on every continent it has been played.
Their last triumph eight years ago in Korea Republic and Japan came on the back of highly inconsistent qualifying form. This time, whereas eternal rivals Argentina laboured to emerge from the qualifiers in one piece, Dunga's Brazilians topped the group. Even so, they were efficient rather than spectacular - the former quality a necessity for success but the latter a vital ingredient required to placate supporters who demand style and success in equal measure. Away losses to Paraguay and Bolivia meant the margin over the Paraguayans and Chile was a solitary point, while Argentina were five points further back.
With the 2002 brigade now all but ushered from the stage - Ronaldinho was named as a reserve while Ronaldo missed out on a call-up altogether - Dunga has had to give youth its head, though that means finding room for the headstrong, such as Robinho. The Manchester City player's form has been revitalised during a loan spell at his formative club Santos, who recently lifted the Paulista championship. He and Real Madrid star Kaka will provide the creative spark in a side where defensive midfielders Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo represent the face of Dunga's new emphasis on defensive solidity.
A world class squad to call on
Roving right-back Maicon goes into the tournament off the back of a stellar season with Inter Milan, while Lyon winger Michel Bastos has been handed the heavy responsibility of succeeding Roberto Carlos at left-back. Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano top scored in qualifying with nine goals and there is firepower on the bench in the shape of Villarreal's Nilmar and Wolfsburg's Grafite.
Dunga's conservatism, meanwhile, meant there was no place in the squad for exciting Santos forwards Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso, while AC Milan attacker Alexandre Pato and Flamengo's Adriano also missed out. "We have to learn to live with the favourites' tag," said Kaka after the historic 3-1 win in Argentina that secured qualification. "We mustn't let it turn into something negative, as it has done in previous years."
Kaka and Luis Fabiano are both expected to be fit despite finishing the Spanish season with injuries. Brazil were drawn in Group G, quickly dubbed the 'Group of Death', where they will face Portugal, Côte d'Ivoire and Korea Republic. They kick off against the Asian side on 15 June in Johannesburg, where they play the Ivorians five days later, before their final group match against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Durban on the 25th.
"I beg the Brazilian fans that they support us," said Dunga. "If they don't like me or something, that's fine, but I want them to support us, to be patriots."