In the ’06 World Cup, Brazil’s national soccer team confirmed the age-old belief that just because a team has immensely talented individuals doesn’t necessarily mean it’s geared for success. Brazil began its ’02 Cup defense as the top-ranked team in the world, featuring some of the best players ever to strap on boots. However, the legendary Ronaldo and the flashy Ronaldinho failed to impress, and the team suffered a shocking loss to France in the quarterfinals.
Almost immediately after the tournament, the Brazilian media and fans jumped on the team, criticizing its lack of spirit and cohesiveness. Within a few months, Brazil’s new national coach, Dunga, began taking steps to bring his crew of superstars together. Instead of giving each player his own hotel room before matches, Dunga now makes them bunk up together. He felt the players spent too much time alone in their rooms during the World Cup.
“The players were isolated in their rooms and chatting on the Internet,” Dunga says. “Sharing the same room, the players can exchange ideas, talk about their experiences, in short, have real conversations like friends.” Since Dunga replaced former coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and changed up the team’s rooming arrangements, Brazil posted an unbeaten record early on.