Dunga predicts difficult World Cup qualification for Brazil

Porto Alegre (Brazil), March 29 (IANS) Brazil coach Dunga has said the South American countries’ campaign for the 2018 World Cup football finals will be decided in the last match of the regional qualifiers and it is important to always play to win.

“We have to aim for goals and wins. The table is very tight, therefore with one victory you could be at the top,” said Dunga during a news conference on Monday at the training center near to Porto Alegre, where the national team has been training since Saturday ahead of match against Paraguay, reports Xinhua.

After drawing 2-2 on Thursday with Uruguay, Brazil are third in the table, level with Paraguay and Argentina who also have eight points. Argentina will face Bolivia.

Therefore, a victory for Paraguay could mean that Brazil, the five-time World Cup champions, could leave the top four group that will qualify for the World Cup without having to go through the play-offs.

Brazil travelled to Paraguay’s capital city of Asuncion on Monday.

Dunga said he would like his team “to play as they did for the majority of their first half against Uruguay,” even though he added that it “is difficult to make a significant change to a team who haven’t played or trained together for 128 days,” in reference to the time that has passed between the last qualifiers matches in 2015 and now.

Dunga said he expected Paraguay “will use their experience, high-quality players and their characteristic strong style to pressurise us.”

Dunga did not confirm if he will use the same starting line-up as in Sunday’s match in which Gil and Ricardo Oliveira replaced David Luiz and Neymar who were unable to play due to second bookable offences.

“We will choose (the starting eleven) according to the players training, how they have played in the recent matches, and the characteristics that we will need on the pitch,” said Dunga.

“We have other options, with strong and mobile forwards. We will analyse everything well before making a decision,” added the coach.

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