Maicon produced a moment of pure Brazilian magic to set the five-time champions on their way to victory in their opening game against North Korea in Johannesburg.
The Brazilians, ranked number one in the Fifa rankings, were expected to cruise past the team in 105th place in their Group G encounter.
But on a difficult evening they had to wait until the 55th minute to break the deadlock as the North Koreans proved more than capable opponents.
It fell to right-back Maicon to settle Brazil's nerves with a goal of typical beauty.
Latching on to a pass down the right from Elano but at a seemingly impossible angle trapped against the byeline, he produced a swerving screamer that bent in with goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk standing a fraction too far off his post.
The goal composed Dunga's previously erratic side and they doubled the lead with 18 minutes left when Robinho slid a fabulous pass in for Elano to slot home from inside the area.
But North Korea gave them a much harder game than they were expecting and Kim Jong-Hun's side got a goal their endeavour deserved when Ji Yun-nam fired in superbly in the closing stages.
Brazil deserved the victory for their dominance in possession, especially in the second half, but North Korea's previously unknown players can hold their heads high after a display full of passion and no little skill either.
In fact, playing their in their first World Cup since 1966, the Chollima - before they tired after the break - threatened to cause an almighty upset.
With star striker Jong Tae-se - who cried during their national anthem - leading the line magnificently, they were giving Brazil as good as they got in a first half that swung from end to end in hugely entertaining fashion.
Indeed as Elano, Robinho and Michel Bastos all sprayed long-range shots wide from outside the box, it was the little-fancied North Koreans who began to test the Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar as they proved that had not come to the World Cup simply to defend.
Jong was causing the usually unflappable Lucio all kinds of problems with his movement and pace and he turned sharply before firing straight at the Brazilian keeper, before Ri Kwang-chon dragged wide from a good position on the edge of the Brazil box after they had failed to clear a corner.
The Brazilians were lethargic, with their best moments coming down the flanks as Maicon on the right and Michel Bastos - who had a 20-yard sizzler deflected over - got forward time and time again to support their struggling team-mates.
As the game wore on there was a sense that a major upset could be in the offing, but Maicon's devilish drifter put paid to that and soon Brazil were controlling the game in the manner with which their World Cup opponents have become accustomed.
Striker Luis Fabiano, without a goal in his last six internationals, was desperate to get on the scoresheet, but he could only turn and blaze over, before Robinho wonderfully found Elano to make the game safe.
Brazil still had a scare when Ji Yun-nam's brilliant first touch controlled a high ball and took him into space in the Brazil box and he made no mistake with an unerring finish past Julio Cesar.
There was no time for them to conjure the most unlikely of all equalisers, but their heroic display finally brought the World Cup to life and warmed the hearts of the crowd on a freezing night at Ellis Park.
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
Projected table based on current scores
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|Group C teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
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|Group E teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group F teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|
|Group G teams||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||PTS|