Brazil coach Dunga insists that past records will count for nothing when they come up against Chile in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup™ at Ellis Park on Monday. The five-time champions have won the past seven meetings between the two sides dating back almost 10 years and take a major psychological advantage into the game.
However, the Selecao boss, whose side finished top of Group G with two wins and a draw, thinks otherwise. "This is merely a statistic, nothing else," he said. "What is important is our performance on the pitch against Chile. My players always know that it's the next game that is the most important one. For now our next game is going to be against Chile, so we will prepare as we do against any other team. The past is in the past."
The two have also met twice previously at FIFA World Cups - in 1962 and 1998 - with the Brazilians triumphing on both occasions, while Dunga's men also won on both occasions during qualifying. But Dunga believes that reaching the knock-out stage changes the whole mindset of teams.
"During the group stage, there were opportunities to recover over the three games," he said. "Now in the knock-out stages it's all or nothing. Every game can be counted as a championship game. Each team has their distinctive styles of playing. We have to be able to surprise our opponents and stop them from achieving their goals against Brazil. There are no easy opponents today, all of the teams want to succeed."
Now in the knock-out stages it's all or nothing. Every game can be counted as a championship game.
As for their opponents, the 1994 FIFA World Cup winner said: "I believe this is a different Chile. They are a now a different type of team, much faster. They are also a very competitive team, a team that moves really well on the field. It's a team that enters into the pitch to play and in order to overcome a team such as Chile, we would have to respond and play in the same way."
Midfielder Elano, who injured his ankle against Côte d'Ivoire and missed the last group match, is expected to be fit, but Felipe Melo (ankle) and Julio Baptista (knee) are doubtful. Dunga also brushed aside suggestions that his side may struggle if the Chileans play a defensive game.
He added: "Spain has encountered difficulties, Brazil has encountered difficulties, Switzerland has encountered difficulties whenever their opponents are defensive. It is always difficult to come up against a team such as this. One has to take greater risks, one has to dribble a little more, so when anyone plays against teams like these, it always more difficult than normal."