After a two week leave of absence, brazilfooty.com is back! My sincere apologies for the bad timing of the break (if only it was in the middle of the State Championships instead of crunch Libertadores, Brazilian Cup and league matches!) but real life got in the way as it sometimes does. Quite a lot has happened so without further ado let me get started.
Vasco won the Brazilian Cup last night in a classic nail-biting, end to end match against Coritiba. It was so tense that the substituted Felipe and Diego Souza couldn’t bear to watch the match so they both sat on the floor, facing the dugout wall with a towel over their heads instead of watching the game. Vasco are one of the biggest teams in Brazilian football (four times National League Champions) and are long overdue some success. It’s also quite a turnaround since the start of the season when they lost their first three Rio State Championship games against lower league sides (all Serie C and below: Resende, Nova Iguaçu and Boavista). Told you the Brazilian league was hard to predict.
Coritiba on the hand are one of the up and coming teams in Brazilian football and were unlucky not to win. They won over a lot of fans on their way to the final with some terrific performances including a 6-0 win over Palmeiras. They still managed to score three goals last night but didn’t win (they won 3-2 last night but lost the tie on away goals after losing the first leg 1-0 in Rio). Unlucky.
After three rounds of the Serie A, National League Championship, São Paulo are the leaders with nine points followed by Corinthians and Palmeiras (both seven). Surprisingly – probably thanks to my predictions – both Internacional and Cruzeiro have flopped out of the blocks and have four and one points respectively after three games.
Santos are into the Libertadores final which will be played over two legs on the 15th and 22nd of July. The second leg will be in Brazil although I don’t think Santos have decided which stadium to play it in yet. Their stadium in Santos holds around 20,000 only whereas the Morumbi in São Paulo holds about 80,000. Although it’s São Paulo FC’s stadium, the stadium is often used for big matches and Cup finals. They will be playing Peñarol from Uruguay by the way. Wherever its played, I’ll have to see if I can get a ticket.
The seleção has been in action with two disappointing friendlies against Holland (0-0) and Romania (1-0). The matches served as preparation for the Copa America which is taking place in Argentina next month. The Romania game also saw legend Ronaldo say goodbye to football and the seleção with a final 15 minute cameo appearance. He was even more out of shape that he was for Corinthians at the start of the year but still had three good chances to score. The keeper saved two and with the goal at his mercy with the third, the great man, somehow, blasted the ball way over the top 10 yards. His teammates (Neymar, Robinho and co) looked utterly uninterested for the rest of the match and his presence on the pitch seemed to serve as the only motivation for them to actually create chances. The team was booed off the pitch in both games.
Finally, Corinthians have been hogging the transfer news and signed forward Emerson who was a free agent after leaving Fluminense following a fight. They also signed promising young keeper Renan from Avaí and received a big boost with the news that Alex (ex-Spartak) will be able to make his debut in the Serie A in the sixth round of games and not 14th round as originally thought.