Elano earns starting spot for Brazil
Brazil coach Dunga seems to already have decided on his starting lineup at the World Cup, with Elano getting a spot in midfield alongside Kaka.
Dunga played his projected starters against the reserves for the first time in training on Sunday, erasing some doubts still lingering in Brazil's team with less than two weeks before the World Cup.
Elano, Ramires, Kleberson and Julio Baptista were vying for a place as the team's other attacking midfielder along with Kaka, and Dunga had been rotating them in matches ahead of the World Cup. But Elano played in the regular starting team Sunday, and was picked for some key roles such as taking free kicks and penalties.
The practice match, which lasted nearly 45 minutes, ended scoreless but the 29-year-old Elano performed impressively. The Galatasaray midfielder has been a regular in Dunga's squad since the coach took over after the 2006 World Cup, and has played 57 times. He was with the team when it won the 2007 Copa America and last year's Confederations Cup.
Another position that Dunga appears to have made a decision on is left back, with Lyon's Michel Bastos edging out Gilberto.
Bastos, who only has three caps, is the less experienced of the pair but has impressed Dunga in the matches he has played.
Dunga has stuck to the same group of players since replacing Carlos Alberto Parreira as coach, revamping the team by leaving out stars such as Ronaldinho, Adriano, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos and bringing in lesser-known players like Elano and Bastos.
Seeking its sixth world title, Brazil arrived in South Africa on Thursday and has practised every day since. But only Sunday did Dunga put together his starting side. The team was: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Juan, Lucio, Bastos, Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo, Elano, Kaka, Robinho and Luis Fabiano.
"It's important to get the team to play as much as possible," Dunga said.
Brazil will play two warmup matches, against Zimbabwe in Harare on Wednesday and then Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on June 7, before opening its World Cup campaign on June 15 with a Group G match against North Korea.
Brazil's's second group match will be against the Ivory Coast on June 20 and the last against Portugal on June 25.