Coach Dunga was quick to accept responsibility for Brazil's FIFA World Cup™ exit at the hands of the Netherlands.
The South Americans looked to have one foot in the semi-finals when Robinho fired them into an early lead over the Dutch in a powerful first-half display in Port Elizabeth yesterday. However, their challenge unravelled spectacularly after the break when midfielder Felipe Melo scored an own goal and was then sent off to pave the way for Wesley Sneijder to book an early flight home for the Brazilians.
Dunga's contract is due to expire after the FIFA World Cup and while neither he nor the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) have confirmed his exit, the writing appears to be on the wall for him. The coach admitted the responsibility for what will be perceived as failure for the five-times winners is collective, but that he must accept the lion's share as the figurehead.
Dunga said: "Without a shadow of a doubt. I am the coach of the Brazil team and all the decisions I took were taken with the Brazil national team in mind. We are all responsible, but as coach, I have the greatest responsibility, obviously.
"Felipe Melo was sent off – it's not the first time that has happened in a World Cup game and at the end of the day, we are all responsible for this situation. I am very proud to coach these players given the dignified manner in which they have always played for the Brazilian national team."
Dunga received a vote of thanks from goalkeeper Julio Cesar during a sombre dinner at the team hotel in Port Elizabeth last night, and the Brazil party was due to fly to Johannesburg today to connect with an evening flight back to Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil arrived in South Africa as favourites, along with Spain, to leave with the Trophy, and although their progress to the quarter-finals was rarely spectacular, it was relatively comfortable.
For 45 minutes yesterday, it looked as though they might be ready to cut loose with front three Robinho, Kaka and Luis Fabiano tormenting the Dutch rearguard, who were repeatedly left chasing shadows. Robinho saw an eighth-minute strike ruled out for offside against Dani Alves during the build-up, but there was nothing wrong with his opening goal two minutes later after Melo skewered a pass through the heart of the Netherlands defence to set him up.
Had it not been for a superb one-handed save from Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to deny Kaka 14 minutes before the break, it could have been Bert van Marwijk's men, rather than the Brazilians, boarding a plane today. But from the moment Melo glanced Sneijder's cross over his own goalkeeper, the Dutch were revitalised, and they got their reward with 22 minutes remaining when Dirk Kuyt flicked on Arjen Robben's corner and Sneijder, for the first time in his career, headed the ball into the net.
Dunga said: "We weren't able to maintain the same level of concentration in the second half as we had in the first half. We know a World Cup match is about 90 minutes and it is the detailed passages of play that are important. Unfortunately, we weren't able to achieve our main objective, which was to be world champions.
"Our players looked at this World Cup as a great opportunity to do well, but what happens is that there's a certain degree of nervousness and things don't always go the way you expect."