JOHANNESBURG - Brazil are often hailed for their outstanding technique and breathtaking individual talent but the five-times world champions are also among the leaders when it comes to preparation.
While a number of Europeans teams have looked jaded in South Africa, Brazil, who have undergone a meticulous training programme since the squad assembled in late May, still look fresh and raring to go.
In fact, coach Dunga says his biggest job is to get his players to take it easy.
"These lads love to train and to be with the ball," he told reporters after his team demolished Chile 3-0 to reach the quarter-finals.
"But we have to try and put the brakes on their enthusiasm. At this point in the competition, our main job is to make sure they relax and recover so they are fit for the next game.
"We are slowing down the training so the players devote their energy to the games themselves.
"Some people don't understand that we have to slow down the rhythm of training, have a special nutrition programme, tell them to go to bed early and not stay up until late on the computer."
"This is a very well-planned campaign," he added. "Every aspect has been well-thought out, including the physical side and the medical side."
Brazil have long been ahead of the pack in terms of preparation.
Back in 1958, they broke new ground by taking doctors, a dentist and a sports psychologist to the World Cup in Sweden, where they won the first of their five world titles.
At the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Brazil seemed hardly bothered by the altitude and midday heat thanks to their preparation while eight years ago in Japan and South Korea, they looked fresh while other teams - notably Argentina and France - overdid the warm-up and looked exhausted.
Dunga said one of the biggest challenges this time was to get striker Luis Fabiano and playmaker Kaka back to peak fitness after injury-plagued seasons in Spain.
"They weren't worn out but, on the other hand, they didn't have any rhythm," he said. "We had to set up a tailor-made programme for them.
"Kaka hadn't played a full 90 minutes in the last five months, so we had to build him up to allow him to play. But we didn't have much time, so this made it complicated."
Dunga said he had also benefitted from a coherent selection policy with no last-minute changes.
"This group of players has been built up over the last three years and all I have to do is look at my players or say just a few words to get the message across and they understand it immediately.
"They're very mature and understand what I'm trying to say. It makes my job easy."comments