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Boo boys remain, Alves back for Brazil ahead of Copa

11 June 2015, 18:34

Rio de Janeiro - Brazilian fans reacted to their World Cup annihilation by Germany last year with stunned bewilderment.

Since then, with Dunga having replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari in the dugout, they have won 10 games on the bounce, but even that was not enough to hold back the boo boys as the Selecao edged past Honduras 1-0 in their final Copa America warm-up game, prompting the coach to express surprise on Thursday.

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"I am a little bit surprised. It was a tough game and our players are coming off the end of their season. I think we created more chances than we did in Sao Paulo," in seeing off Mexico on Sunday, Dunga told reporters.

"When it comes down to it, it was the last warm-up for the Copa so really it is understandable the players took their foot off the accelerator a little bit," said Dunga, Brazil's 1994 World Cup-winning skipper who also gave the five-time world champions their most recent Copa America success in 2007 before being sacked three years later.

Since he took over from Scolari last July, Brazil have at least recovered the winning habit after their 7-1 steamrollering at German hands and a 3-0 reverse to the Netherlands in the World Cup third-place play-off.

The 2-0 win against Mexico was their first game back on home soil since then and if the Honduras game in the southern city of Porto Alegre was unspectacular it at least had the merit of continuing the run before the Selecao face Peru in Chile on Saturday for their Copa opener.

They also will take on dark horses Colombia and unpredictable Venezuela in Group C.

But the fans made their disenchantment known in the general absence of the 'jogo bonito' and were baying for the introduction of Neymar, fresh from his Champions League triumph with Barcelona, long before his second-half entrance from the bench.

Even then, the wizard was unable to conjure anything to add to the goal just after the half-hour mark from Roberto Firmino which proved just enough.

Brazil, already notably without Chelsea starlet Oscar through injury, have meanwhile had to shuffle their pack once again with defender Danilo whose impressive campaign at Porto earned him a move to Real Madrid suffering a knee injury that keeps him out of the Chilean adventure.

His loss means a recall for Dani Alves, a mainstay of Barca's treble-winning campaign alongside Neymar but who was dropped after the Germany game and who has not donned his country's colours since.

"He brings experience and versatility to the table, along with consistency, which is what we need," said Dunga of the 32-year-old whose showings for the Catalan club earned him a new contract at the Camp Nou this week.

Monaco youngster Fabinho will compete with Alves for a starting place with the Barca man back in the box seat.

"It will be great to train with him and I can learn a lot from him. But I'll be fighting for a starting place," Fabinho told reporters.

Former Manchester City and AC Milan star Robinho made a cameo appearance midway through the second half of the Honduras game after a knee scare which at one stage threatened his squad place.

But he told reporters after the game he felt fit and ready, while indicating he believed the team was slowly coming to the boil as it goes into tournament mode.

"We're stepping it up with every game," said the veteran fowward, while adding that Dunga has been carefully building on a strong base.

"So, God willing, we'll turn in a great Copa America showing," he said.



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