Brazil could be forgiven for regarding South Africa, a team ranked 70 places below them in the world rankings, as easy fodder in Thursday’s Confederations Cup semi-final.
But if that was the general opinion in the Brazilian camp it certainly wasn’t showing as coach Dunga, Kaka and company prepared for their last four date with the hosts at Ellis Park on Wednesday.
“It’s always difficult to play the host country, they’ll be especially motivated, that gives emotional support to the host team,” observed Dunga, who as a player was coached by his South African counterpart Joel Santana.
“He knows what he’s doing,” Dunga said.
The Brazil boss added: “South Africa have improved from game to game, but we’re ready for the challenge.
“They must be respected as they’ve made it through to the semis. South Africa are a competitive team with African characteristics – they are very fast and strong but we’ll play our football and try to block their positive aspects.”
Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva, a regular in the side that is coasting through World Cup qualifying, echoed his coach’s comments on the need to be alert to the dangers posed by Santana’s Bafana Bafana.
“For South Africa it’s a very important game playing against Brazil. We need to be focused, we don’t want to be surprised by them.
“We can”t start looking at the final, we’ve got to win this first.”
Brazil the holders are unbeaten since arriving in South Africa with wins over Egypt (4-3), and 3-0 wins over the United States and world champions Italy.
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