Brazil coach Dunga admitted his side had shown "nervousness and anxiety" in their FIFA World Cup™ opener against Korea DPR at Ellis Park before running out 2-1 winners. Maicon made the breakthrough for the five-time world champions with a shot from an acute angle and Elano added a superb second when he side-footed home a brilliant through-ball from Robinho.
Dunga has come under pressure for not playing beautiful football and this performance might have given his critics more mud to throw at him, but he was simply satisfied to emerge with a win against hard-working opponents.
He said: "The first match is always very tiring. There is a lot of nervousness and anxiety after a lot of training sessions. All of us want to score and not concede any goals. I'm not entirely happy but this is common in football. In the second half we changed our rhythm a bit. At first we were passing side to side but in the second half we improved a lot. The spirit of this team is noteworthy and this team wants to go forward."
Dunga admitted his side found it hard to break down a team who, at 0-0, were content to pack the defence and try to keep Brazil out. "When we come across a team that is also offensive it creates the necessary space but it is very difficult against some teams to develop a counter-attack," he said. "North Korea passed extremely well and defended extremely well but nevertheless Brazil were able to create a number of opportunities."
I'm not entirely happy but this is common in football.
Kaka was replaced by Nilmar in the second half as Dunga manages his recovery from groin and thigh problems which have dogged his debut season at Real Madrid. The coach said: "We had already anticipated that Kaka would be substituted. He wasn't going to play the full 90 minutes because he hasn't played a full game in five months. We wanted to increase the rhythm and speed of our team so at 2-0 up we wanted to replace him."
Korea DPR coach Kim Jong-hun was proud of his men despite the defeat, with Ji Yun-nam's late goal providing cause for celebration and hope for things to come against Côte d’Ivoire and Portugal. Kim said: "The Brazilian team is a very strong team and, although we were unable to win the game, I believe our players fought very well.
"For the first half our players really carried out our plan for the Brazilian team - when they were attacking from the sides or the wings, or at individual plays. We managed to fend them off. We were very well prepared to fight against any of their tactics and when we intercepted the ball we passed very quickly.
"Unfortunately we were unable to put the ball in the net. In the second half Brazil were more on the attack but we tried to find a goal opportunity. I thought we fought quite bravely."