When Carlos Alberto Parreira vacated the Brazilian hot-seat following the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, few expected the CBF to hand the reins to Dunga. After all, he had no experience in coaching.
However, the former midfield enforcer had shown his leadership qualities during his playing career, as a vociferous, inspirational captain who guided A Seleção to 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™ glory. An atypically Brazilian player, Dunga compensated for a lack of flair with fierce tackling and impressive ball retention, and made 91 appearances for his country between 1987 and 1998.
It became immediately apparent that Dunga was not going to pick players based on their reputations and he bravely dropped a number of Brazil's revered superstars.
Dunga went unbeaten during his first six matches at the helm of A Seleção, including a morale-boosting 3-0 win over rivals Argentina, before his team fell to Portugal 0-2 in February 2007. The head coach’s first big test came at the Copa America 2007 in Venezuela, where after opening up with a loss to Mexico, they charged to the final and again overcame Argentina 3-0.
Brazil had their share of problems at times during South Africa 2010 qualifying, as three straight 0-0 draws at home put pressure on Dunga’s broad shoulders. But the former world champion soon proved his worth in emphatic fashion, leading the Canarinho to an unbeaten FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 title in South Africa and finishing the South American qualifiers in first place with a handful of fine displays, particularly the away wins against Uruguay (4-0) and Argentina (3-1).