Brazil remain in disarray. The infamous ‘Mineirazo’ – a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany in the 2014 World Cup on home soil – and two premature Copa America exits have severely damaged the five-time World Cup winners’ confidence.
Having retaken the command of the Selecao at one of their lowest points in recent history, Dunga fell way short in his mission to re-establish the world-beating vision of the national team.
His second spell at the helm got off to a positive start with 11 successive victories, but a quarter-final exit to Paraguay at Copa America 2015 quickly saw the mood change.
After a sluggish start to World Cup 2018 qualifying, failure to get out of their group at the Copa America Centenario proved the final straw and left the prestigious image left by former Brazilian sides in tatters.
Now it is Dunga’s replacement, Tite, who is tasked with piecing together a mosaic from what remains.
Unlike his predecessor, Tite has the overwhelming backing of fans and the Brazilian media, his recent success in the national domestic game the foundation of that support.
After returning from a sabbatical in which he travelled to Europe to study the methods of various head coaches, including Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti during his time at Real Madrid, the 55-year-old guided Corinthians to the 2015 Campeonato Brasileiro title.
It was Tite’s prior stint at the helm of the Sao Paulo giants that garnered much acclaim, however.
The coach led Corinthians to the Brasileirao trophy in 2011 and followed it up with the club’s first Copa Libertadores success the following year, while Chelsea fans will surely remember the Club World Cup final defeat at the hands of the Brazilians in Japan in 2012.
The only criticism Tite faced was over his perceived pragmatic, ‘European’ tactics – this is a coach who won the Libertadores using a formation that did not include a recognised striker.
But he has returned from his sabbatical with a more positive, attacking approach and two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo, who played under Tite during the twilight of his career, has no doubt he is the right man to lead the country forward.
“Tite is undoubtedly the best name at the moment, he has proved it over the years at Corinthians and he certainly deserves this opportunity,” he told Globo Esporte. “He needs to really show the importance that wearing the shirt of the Brazilian national team has.”
After vacating the dugout for last week’s defeat to Fluminense amid his impending switch, Tite returned to Arena Corinthians on Sunday to bid farewell to the supporters who understandably hold him in such high esteem.
— Corinthians (@Corinthians) June 19, 2016
— Corinthians (@Corinthians) June 19, 2016
It is his retweaked approach that could be of benefit to a Brazil side that has struggled to break teams down, even with the presence of captain and talisman Neymar.
The most glaring shortcoming in need of addressing, however, is in the striking department.
Dunga never settled on a favoured centre-forward with Diego Tardelli, Ricardo Oliveira and Roberto Firmino all failing to establish themselves during his reign.
The paucity of options made life difficult, but Firmino is worthy of a recall and 19-year-old Santos forward Gabriel Barbosa has shown signs of promise since breaking into the side this year, while exciting talents Gabriel Jesus and Luan are possible options to build for the future.
While Tite may have to settle for a relatively unproven quantity in attack, there are immediate changes he can make to reinforce the defence.
Thiago Silva’s absence from Brazil has been a contentious topic.
Dunga felt the Paris Saint-Germain centre-back lacked the mental strength and character of a leader after separating himself from his team-mates and watching the penalty shoot-out win over Chile in the last 16 of World Cup 2014 through teary eyes.
While Dunga stripped him of the captaincy and discarded him, Tite saw it as a show of strength.
“When Thiago showed his feelings, his character, he showed his soul and had the courage to express his emotion. It’s a crime what they did to him,” said Tite.
Another potential beneficiary of the new appointment could be Marcelo, the Real Madrid left-back cut from the team in March as Dunga was critical of his attitude.
Bringing such experienced heads back into the squad could help Tite mould a more cohesive atmosphere in the dressing room, and it is a move he is likely to take.
With Rogerio Micale now taking charge of the quest for a maiden gold medal at the Rio Olympics, the new coach’s first match will be a tricky trip to World Cup 2018 qualifying joint-leaders Ecuador and things will not get any easier with Colombia visiting Brazil days later.
The outlook is positive for the popular appointment, and while the style of play will not drastically change, Tite’s management could well bring about the turnaround in fortunes so desperately desired.
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