Thursday 24 November 2022, 17:00

Dunga: The World Cup brings down cultural barriers

"The World Cup brings down cultural barriers. You go to a World Cup and feel happiness when you see people from all over the world – of all religions, education levels and backgrounds"

We are living in uncertain times filled with conflicts and global crises. The world is divided.

The FIFA World Cup, through the power of football, will bring people together to cross borders, unite and celebrate together.

Football Unites the World will be a global movement to inspire, unite and develop through football.

FIFA Legends have shared their stories of how football united their respective countries during uncertain times. We asked Dunga to look back on his playing days.

Each and every world champion belongs to a select club, but there is an even more elite cadre in their ranks: the captains. Highly visible on the pitch thanks to their armbands, they put in vital work behind the scenes to help steer their teams to victory. Just take USA 1994, for example. While the goals, brilliance and celebrations of Romario and Bebeto may spring immediately to mind from Brazil's triumph, A Seleçao could well have finished as also-rans without the rigour and courage of Dunga in midfield. Asked to sum up the strength of that Brazil side in one word, the former Fiorentina ace is feeling in a generous mood. "The confidence, perseverance, discipline and talent of the Brazilian players," he says. "We felt very well prepared by the coaching staff and we were certain of going all the way."

Both a defensive rock and a launchpad for attacks, Dunga made 57 tackles and completed 692 passes at USA 1994, two record tallies in a single edition that endure to this day. "Those numbers underline the legacy left by our generation," he smiles. "When I look at those figures today, they make me even happier than when I was a player, because today I'm able to think about them differently and see them in another light."

Having first discovered the magic of the World Cup during the summer of 1970, Dunga has been a passionate fan of the competition ever since. "The World Cup brings down cultural barriers," he explains. "You go to a World Cup and feel happiness when you see people from all over the world – of all religions, education levels and backgrounds. "On the pitch, everything is put aside," adds the former Brazil coach, who held the Seleçao reins from 2006 to 2010. "You forget all the rest and just admire the spectacle. I think that's one of the biggest positives about the World Cup. Football unites people."

Romario (with trophy) and captain Dunga of Brazil and the Brazilian team celebrate after winning