Dunga acknowledges Brazil needs to improve

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Coach Dunga acknowledged his Brazil lineup was not at its best despite beating North Korea 2-1 in its opening World Cup match on Tuesday.

Brazil needed second-half goals by Maicon and Elano to get past the tight defensive scheme of the North Koreans, who at No. 105 are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.

"We are satisfied with the result," Dunga said. "But we want more, of course. We want to play better, score more goals."

Brazil struggled for most of the match and was not able to create many scoring opportunities despite the difference in quality between the teams.

Dunga said anxiety that came with an opening match played a role in the team’s lackluster performance, as did the opponent’s defensive tactical setup.

"When we play with a more offensive team we usually have more space, but against a team playing completely on defense it’s harder, you have to keep insisting."

Maicon scored with a shot into the far corner from a tight angle in the 55th minute as North Korea goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk anticipated a cross, and Elano doubled the lead in the 72nd after a well-timed pass from Robinho, finding the net with a one-timer from inside the area. North Korea’s lone goal was scored by Ji Yun Nam in the 89th on a frigid night at Ellis Park when the temperature dipped to 3 Celsius (37F) after kick off.

"They were always perfect moving around to close out our spaces," Dunga said. "But we still were able to do enough to get the goals and the win in the second half."

Players were glad to get the first match out of the way with a victory.

"It was important to get the three points," Robinho said. "Of course we need to improve, but we got the win and that’s very important."

The victory gives Brazil first place in the group after Portugal and Ivory Coast drew 0-0 in their opener earlier Tuesday. Brazil will face the Ivory Coast on Sunday at Soccer City and then it closes play in Group G against Portugal on June 25 in Durban.

"It was hard until we got the first goal, but then we improved and got the win," Maicon said.

Brazil is seeking its sixth World Cup title in South Africa.

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