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Dunga vows to fight on after Brazil's early Copa exit

Jun 4, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Brazil manager Dunga sits on the bench before a game against Ecuador during the group play stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario at Rose Bowl Stadium. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 4, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Brazil manager Dunga sits on the bench before a game against Ecuador during the group play stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario at Rose Bowl Stadium. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Defiant Brazil manager Dunga brushed off suggestions that early elimination from the Copa America would cost him his job on Sunday, telling reporters that he feared "only death" and not unemployment.

There was immediate speculation over Dunga's future after Peru's contentious 1-0 win eliminated Brazil in the group stage but the former World Cup-winning captain expects to be leading Brazil at their home Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

"I am only afraid of death, I am not afraid of that," he said when asked if he feared losing his job after Brazil's early exit from the centenary Copa America being hosted by the United States.

"The president knows what we are doing, how we are working, we know about the pressure, and we know that the job comes with criticism," Dunga told reporters after the game in Boston.

"When you work for the Brazil national team you have to know the criticism will mount when you don't get results but internally we know what we are doing."

Dunga bemoaned the impatience of his critics at home and repeated his mantra that restructuring the game in Brazil would take time after a painful 2014 World Cup campaign.

The former Internacional, Fiorentina and Stuttgart midfielder was given the task of reviving Brazilian soccer after their humiliating 7-1 defeat by Germany in the semi-finals of the tournament they hosted two years ago.

PLEADING FOR PATIENCE

However, after a bright start to his second spell in charge, Brazil were knocked out of last year's Copa America at the quarter-final stage and currently sit sixth in South America's 10-team qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup.

He has also failed to make many friends with his combative approach and the knives are being sharpened after the eight-times Copa America champions failed to make the second round for the first time in 29 years.

Dunga, though, blamed the defeat on the officials who failed to see that Peru's goal was punched into the net and appealed for time to revamp the national side, which is widely held to be one of the weakest Brazil teams for decades.

"We lauded Germany for 14 years of work (in restructuring their football)," he said.

"And in Brazil we want everything to be changed easily in two minutes. In football, you have to have patience when you start your work and you have to persist and you have to have confidence in what you're doing.

"When you don't get results people are less tolerant. For a long time Brazil won a lot until 1970. And then from 1994 until 2002 we won a lot and so we Brazilians got used to winning. Now we are in a period of transition and we have to be patient.

"Germany had that patience. Of course Brazilians don't have that patience. We want immediate solutions but immediate solutions come with continuity."

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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