When Dunga signed with Júbilo Iwata in 1995, he had already lifted the previous FIFA World Cup as Brazil's captain and had a long and storied career in Italy, Germany, and his homeland.
The South American star would prove he had a lot more left to his game when he came to Japan, though, emerging as a force in the Júbilo midfield, leading them to their very first J1 title in 1997, and continuing on as the soul of the Seleção Canarinho as they went for repeat glory at France '98.
Dunga wore the armband for Brazil in that tournament as a J.League player, leading the national team at age 34. As Brazil rolled to a pair of wins to open the tournament and clinch first place in Group A, it was with Dunga paving the path.
He played every minute in the group stage and again put in 90 minute shifts as Brazil beat Chile and Denmark in the knockout stages. It took 120 minutes and penalties to get past Netherlands in the semi-finals, and it was Dunga who buried the fourth and final spot kick that sent Brazil into the final.
While the tournament did not finish the way Brazil wanted, with host France beating them in the ultimate match, 3-0, it was an enormous achievement to get so close to a World Cup repeat — something still not achieved since Brazil's famous 1962 side.
Throughout the tournament, tensions and expectations were high and the man who brought stability and calmness with the armband to marshall Brazil through the tournament was remarkably a J.League player after the league had only completed five seasons to that point.