Maicon goal no fluke says Dunga

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The Independent Football

Brazil coach Dunga insisted Maicon's opening goal against North Korea was no fluke as the five-time champions kicked off their 2010 World Cup campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

The Asian side kept their illustrious opponents at bay for 55 minutes until the Inter Milan full-back's swerving cross-cum-shot beat North Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk at his near post. Elano added a second for Brazil as he sidefooted home an inch-perfect Robinho pass but North Korea pulled one back late on through Ji Yun-nam.

The win was not the most convincing of displays from a side among many people's favourites to win a sixth world crown but Dunga saw enough from his players - Maicon in particular - to be encouraged.

He said: "We have training drills and I can tell you it's not the first goal that Maicon has scored in this fashion, so it's not so much an error by the goalkeeper but creativity on the part of Maicon. Yes, the goalkeeper could have stayed in but he anticipated that the ball was going to be crossed.

"All the players played well - Maicon in particular was outstanding and Robinho also played very well.

"He is very versatile, he can play in various positions. I'm very happy with Robinho's performance, a year ago no one wanted Robinho but I wanted him in my team. I remember far back, I don't forget."

North Korea acquitted themselves well and their five-man defence had the measure of Brazil until Maicon's unusual breakthrough goal.

Their coach Kim Jong-hun was proud of his players in spite of the defeat and said: "For the first half our players really carried out our plan for the Brazilian team, when they were attacking from the sides or the wings, or at individual plays, we managed to fend them off.

"We were very well prepared to fight against any of their tactics and when we intercepted the ball we passed very quickly.

"Unfortunately we were unable to put the ball in the net. In the second half Brazil were more on the attack but we tried to find a goal opportunity. I thought we fought quite bravely."