Brazil blame spoilsport opponents

JOHANNESBURG - Brazil are blaming North Korean "spoilsport" tactics for their dismal opening World Cup performance but have promised to do better next time - if future opponents are more obliging.

Coach Dunga and his players said that North Korea's massed defence simply made life too difficult for the five-times world champions on Tuesday, who are more comfortable facing teams who open up and attack.

"It was a very complicated match because they closed down the spaces," said striker Luis Fabiano after Brazil struggled to a 2-1 win over the lowest-ranked side at the World Cup at 105.

"It was difficult for the forwards because there was a sea of Korean players and the ball just didn't reach the front," added the so-called Fabulous One after completing his sixth international without a goal.

COUNTER-ATTACK

Goalkeeper Julio Cesar also complained of the inconvenience caused by the opposition.

"It's boring to play against a team like that because you have to attack all the time," he said. "North Korea were trying to play on the counter-attack."

Felipe Melo said that North Korea played with "two lines of five" and Michel Bastos agreed that it was just not cricket.

"It's not easy to play against a team which just plays in defence. It makes things really difficult for us," he said.

In central defender Juan's opinion, it was all typical of modern football.

"That's football today," he said. "A national team without any sort of tradition at the top level, but who mark well and just worry about defending."

Dunga, who has turned Brazil into a team which depends on counter-attacks and set pieces for goals, agreed with his players.

"When you meet a team who play attacking football, it allows you to create space," he said.

"When you play opponents who close ranks, you have to speed up the game, you misplace passes, you have to be persistent, so it's not easy to play against that sort of team."

Dunga's Brazil have thrived against teams who have taken the initiative, especially in the World Cup qualifiers when they won 3-0 in Chile, 4-0 in Uruguay and Venezuela and 3-1 in Argentina.

But they were held to 0-0 draws at home to Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela after their opponents refused to play ball and instead packed their defence.

Many deplore the way in which Brazil have changed their style but Dunga has poured scorn on the critics, saying a more pragmatic approach has proved successful.

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