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Dunga: gold medal is a must for Brazil

Aug. 06, 2008, 2:54 a.m. (ET)

SHENYANG, China(AP) Dunga knows there won't be many excuses if Brazil fails to win the Olympic gold again.

He admits anything but the title will be considered a disappointment, and that it's time Brazil comes through to clinch the only significant tournament it is yet to win in football.

``The pressure to win always exists in the national team,'' Dunga said. ``We have won the World Cup, the Copa America and other important tournaments, but we are missing the Olympic medal. Everyone here wants to leave their mark and win this tournament, which has eluded several generations of Brazilian players.''

Brazil opens against Belgium on Thursday in Shenyang. It's been a top contender in all major football competitions but has always come up short at the Olympics. The Brazilians finished second twice, at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and third at Atlanta in 1996.

Dunga was a defensive midfielder in the Brazilian team that lost the final to France in 1984. Ronaldinho, the team's biggest star in China, was also on a losing Olympic team when Brazil was beaten by Cameroon in the quarterfinals of the 2000 Sydney Games.

``Ronaldinho and I are having a second chance,'' Dunga said. ``And you can't let second chances escape no matter what.''

Dunga recalls that he lost the 1990 World Cup with the senior team but was able to recover four years later, captaining Brazil to the World Cup title in the United States.

The coach says the lack of preparation time could create difficulties for the match against Belgium, but he remains confident of a good start.

``The two warmup matches we played were important to give us an idea of where we are,'' he said. ``The players are very motivated.''

Brazil beat Singapore 3-0 and Vietnam 2-0 before traveling to China.

Dunga won't be able to count on injured defender Thiago Silva, one of the team's two overage players along with Ronaldinho.

``It would have helped to have more experienced players in the group,'' Dunga said. ``That's why I wanted to include more players over 23.''

Dunga wanted to summon Kaka and Robinho to add experience to the squad, but their clubs refused to release them. Ronaldinho only made it because the player negotiated his release before transferring from FC Barcelona to AC Milan.

Only three players older than 23 are allowed for each nation in the men's Olympic tournament.

Brazil, which did not qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics, is in Group C in China, along with New Zealand and the hosts.