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Dunga plays down Brazilian expectations

Brazil coach Dunga has played down criticism of his team, while attempting to reduce the expectation that they will win the Copa America.

Dunga’s side meet Paraguay in a quarter-final in Concepcion on Saturday and the 51-year-old is well aware that the hopes of an entire country are on his team’s shoulders after failure at last year’s World Cup in their homeland.

After getting through Group C with six points following tight wins over Peru and Venezuela, Brazil have copped criticism from their fans and local media heading into the clash with Paraguay but Dunga reckons some perspective is needed.

“There is always criticism and there is always pressure,” he said on Friday.

“You can’t satisfy everyone, even if you win, but it’s a joy and an honour to defend our country.

“Brazil went 40 years without winning the Copa America [between 1949 and 1989] and that with all the exceptional players we had during that time.

“We are going about our work in the same way we always do and trying to win games. Opinion is free and we respect everyone. But we are just focused on beating Paraguay.”

Brazil are without suspended captain Neymar, who was hit with a four-match ban for his red card and insults to the referee in the group game against Colombia.

“Neymar was punished and he has learned from his mistake,” full-back Filipe Luis added in the same news conference.

Paraguay eliminated Brazil four years ago at the same stage of the tournament, with the Brazilians missing all four penalties after the match remained goalless through 120 minutes.

“I remember some details from the game,” Filipe said.

“But this is a completely different story, with different players. It is a different Copa America and that game has nothing to do with this one.”

Sat 27 Jun, 2015
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