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BRASILIA - Brazil president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has again assailed the national football team - implying a lack of effort and motivation.
Speaking on Wednesday at an event in which he honoured Brazil's Olympic athletes, Silva hinted Brazil football players haven't been giving their best on the field.
"Fans expect the athlete to do what is within his reach, nobody can expect the supernatural," Silva said. "But in sport, it is unbearable for the fans to realise that [the athletes] aren't sweating in their shirts."
After Brazil lost to Argentina in the Olympic semifinals and finished third, Silva's sharp criticism included calling Argentina midfielder Lionel Messi the world's best player.
The president's words didn't sit well with Dunga and the national team. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar even suggested the president resign and move to Argentina.
But Silva gave his support after Brazil beat Chile 3-0 in a qualifier on September 8. Three days later Brazil were abysmal at home in a goalless draw with last-placed Bolivia, and were booed off the field.
Dunga's dismissal remains widely called for in the country. Brazil are second in South America's 10-team standings with 13 points from eight matches, four points behind leaders Paraguay.
Only outstanding performances in qualifiers against Venezuela in San Cristobal on October 12 and Colombia in Rio de Janeiro three days later may relieve the pressure on Dunga. - Sapa-AP