Brazil seeking redemption

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Dunga (AFP)
Dunga (AFP)

Miami - Less than two months after the worst defeat in their history, global football giants Brazil are set to embark on a new path Saturday, in a friendly against Colombia.

Brazil coach Carlos Dunga, who replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari at the helm in July, knows he stands before the major challenge of overcoming the painful 7-1 home defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals.

Dunga has been trying to convince players that a major failure can be a springboard to success, and drew on his own experience as a player: Brazil were eliminated in the round of 16 in the 1990 World Cup and went on to lift the trophy four years later, with Dunga the captain.

"He asked us to forget the 7-1," said midfielder Willian, one of 10 members of Brazil's World Cup squad who are also in Dunga's first roster.

"Several of the players who are here felt frustrated at the World Cup. For this reason, as was the case in Dunga's history, we will do everything we can to lift up our heads and seek one more World Cup title," said mmidfielder Oscar.

During training in Miami, Dunga made it clear that team renewal will be slow.

Eight players who were in Brazil's World Cup squad are set to be starters against Colombia: keeper Jefferson, defenders Maicon and David Luiz, midfielders Luiz Gustavo, Ramires, Oscar and Willian, and star striker Neymar. They will be joined by defenders Miranda and Filipe Luis and striker Diego Tardelli.

Colombia will also be hoping to overcome World Cup disappointment. They reached the first World Cup quarter-final in their history in Brazil 2014, and lost an ill-tempered match 2-1 to the hosts.

Still, James Rodriguez, the tournament's top scorer, said they will not take the friendly as a rematch.

"It's just another game. We don't have to take it as a rematch, but simply go out there to win as we have always done, that's all," said the Real Madrid playmaker.

But there is added spice because Neymar will be meeting Juan Zuniga again, the man whose hard challenge from behind ended Neymar's World Cup with a fractured vertebra.

The match will feature a further highlight, the return of Colombia's star striker Radamel Falcao, who missed the World Cup due to injury.

"I feel perfectly fit," the forward said. "I feel very confident, very sure of myself."

Colombia's Argentinian-born coach Jose Pekerman recently extended his contract as coach.

He is expected to field in Miami a team similar to the one he used in Brazil 2014. Veteran keeper Faryd Mondragon has retired from football and defender Mario Yepes has stepped down from the national team, but there are no further changes beyond Falcao's return.

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