Argentina and Brazil face the future after shock exits
Dunga has already been shown the door and Maradona could be on his way as well
With the curtain having unexpectedly fallen on Argentina and Brazil's bids for World Cup glory this weekend, South American football suddenly finds itself facing a period of introspection.
Few people would have predicted that the only South American team to make the semi-finals would be Uruguay after they, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay all qualified for the quarter finals - but that is how it has turned out.
Brazil are already looking for a new manager after their defeat to Holland and Argentina could be close behind, after being dumped out by Germany. Dunga paid the price for his over-cautious approach, while Maradona's problem appeared to be quite the opposite - a lack of defensive nous.
Dunga's stewardship of Brazil ended when his team lost 2-1 to a workmanlike Netherlands team on Friday. So unhappy were the Brazilian Football Federation with their manager that they sacked him even though he had already announced his plans to resign after the tournament.
Despite winning the 2007 Copa America his reign will be remembered more for the criticism it generated than for any success. Brazilian football fans never took to Dunga's brand of efficient football that prized worksmanship over technique. His decision to leave creative midfielders Ronaldinho and Diego out of his squad was met with derision and the idea of playing two holding midfielders was seen as some kind of slur on the good name of Brazilian football.
Argentina's somewhat more flamoyant boss, Maradona, has yet to be shown the door - although he has hinted he could walk out of his own volition.
His team were one of the surprises of this World Cup. Despite a dreadful qualification campaign that saw them almost miss out on a World Cup place, they turned on the style once they arrived in South Africa and many believed they would go all the way.
But, despite all their attacking flair, they appeared vulnerable in defence. And the controversial decision to leave Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso at home seems to have been Maradona's undoing as Argentina's frailties were ruthlessly exposed during their 4-0 thrashing by Germany on Saturday.
But crucially for Maradona, he still has the support of his players.
"Now is not the time to make these decisions," said Gabriel Heinze yesterday. "Surely it would be better to wait until the emotion has cooled." ·
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