JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - With progress to the World Cup last 16 already assured, Brazil's reserves have the chance to shine in their final group match against Portugal.
Monday was a rest day for the most part for the first eleven, as coach Dunga instead put the remainder of the squad through their paces in the knowledge that he now has two reasons to shuffle his pack and investigate his men's strength in depth.
That is because wins over North Korea and Ivory Coast have propelled Brazil through the opening phase but also because star midfielder Kaka has inadvertently done Dunga a favour.
By getting himself a red card against Ivory Coast the Real Madrid superstar will have to sit out the Portugal encounter come what may.
His opening showing against the North Koreans in a fairly hard-fought 2-1 win was not quite what fans have come to expect of a former world player of the year and there had been indications that he would not necessarily keep his place with some players talking up the skills of the likes of Julio Baptista.
Kaka did improve against the Ivory Coast, with a neat assist, but his sending off for pushing Abdelkader Keita means Dunga must shake things up anyway - though with six points in the bag he can afford to do so.
"We are not sure who will replace Kaka for the next game, we will think about it over the next few days," Dunga said.
Although Dunga - to the horror of some former players and many fans - has reined in the samba style in his four-year tenure to date he has nonetheless been handsomely rewarded both in the Copa America and the Confederations Cup here last year.
Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, currently in charge of Ivory Coast, feels Brazil look like champions.
"You need to be almost perfect to beat Brazil. In every way they are good, they are very good," opined Eriksson.
The reserves aren't too bad either as they hammered The Birds, a local side from Vaal, outside Johannesbrug, 7-1, albeit after negotiating a tricky 20 opening minutes.
Baptista was on target as was Wolfsburg's Grafite with a brace, Ramires, Kleberson and Daniel Alves with an own goal on top.
The first team were meanwhile enjoying the facilities at their Fairway Hotel base.
Dunga looks to have three options regarding his Kaka conundrum.
He can field Nilmar in attack and switch the on-form Robinho into a central role, send in Julio Baptista or push Daniel Alves forward into the engine room.
Elano meanwhile still hopes to start against the Portuguese, who thrashed the North Koreans 7-0 after their goalless stalemate with Ivory Coast, despite taking a blow to the throat on Monday, according to team doctor Jose Luis Runco.
Assuming they claim at least a draw on Friday Brazil will win their group and face the second team in Group G - either Spain, Chile or Switzerland.
|Coach: Carlos Queiroz|
for Duda 54'
for Pepe 64'
for Raul Meireles 84'
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