Forget Christmas or New Years’ day, today was the day for Corinthians fans as their team stepped onto the field in Japan hoping to bring home the World Club Cup for a second time (they won the 2000 version held in Brazil even though they were not Libertadores Champions that year).
It’s been a massive year for Corinthians: League winners last December; Libertadores winners for the first time in their history this July; Palmeiras relegated. The icing on this massive, mother of all Corinthians’ cakes, would be a World Club Cup win.
South American’s take the World Club Cup seriously. Nine years ago, I had the privilege of being in the small southern Argentine town of Ushaia. Boca Juniors were playing AC Milan in Japan and they won. The fans in this town, several days bus ride away from Buenos Aires, went crazy. Singing and dancing in the freezing cold streets early in the morning to celebrate their teams win. Down went the Argentine flag in the centre of town and up went a Boca Juniors one.
Corinthians are no different. In fact they are even more fanatical about this competition. To see their team off – the fans descended on São Paulo’s International Airport causing traffic chaos and literally taking over the airport. Police were called in, flares were lit, rubber bullets and other nice things were fired in return by the police. Chaos. See the pictures here: #Chaos.
One woman who was expected to give birth on the day decided that it would be a better idea to go to the airport. Some Corinthians fans have quit their jobs to go and see their team in Japan. When your company fires you in Brazil you get a nice pay-out from the government. Cash for a plan ticket in Japan just what the government intended.
Compare that to Chelsea who seem to hardly care. I was thinking – where would this trophy be on their list of priorities? 3r or 4th? Champions League and Premier League undoubtedly come first. Probably the FA Cup too. Interesting the difference in mentality. Why, I wonder?
A São Paulo fan brought this up with me on Facebook (and at the same time antagonising all his mates who are Corinthianos). What he forgot to mention (and duly pointed out by the Corinthianos) was that São Paulo fans made such a big deal out of their wins in Japan, like the one against Liverpool in 2005. It’s a South America thing. What will the party be like if Chelsea win I wonder?
As for today’s game it wasn’t a classic. And it wasn’t a stroll for Corinthians either. I wasn’t expecting one and neither were most people. Vitoria sofrida for Corinthians is what I tweeted before the game and that is pretty much how it turned out. Corinthians dominated the first half. They controlled possession and looked by far the better team. They weren’t creating many chances though and Al Ahly had a great chance to take the lead when some guy had a free header in the 11th minute after the Corinthians defence went walkabout.
Corinthians continued to control the game but struggled to make chances. I decided to tweet that and two minutes later with their first clear chance of the game (around 30 mins) they were ahead. The Twitter pundit’s nightmare! An excellent header into the corner of the goal by their Peruvian Striker Paulo Guerrero gave them the lead. Douglas with a very cool assist. Check it out:
Corintihans made a positive start to the second half. Emerson Sheikh was lively. But, as they half wore on Corinthians sat back, the Sheikh faded and Al Ahly improved. Where Corinthians dominated possession in the first half, the Egyptians did in the second. A few scares for Corinthians, one or two breaks that they couldn’t capitalize on and that was about it. Cássio played well and looked comfortable on crosses in the Corinthians goal. 1-0 it finished.
Guerrero’s goal decisive. The worry however is that when Guerrero was substituted late in the game he seemed to be limping pretty badly from where I was sitting (behind my computer on a slightly dodgy and blurry stream). Once he sat down on the bench and the camera showed his face he didn’t look like you would expect a man who has just given millions of Corinthianos an early Christmas present to look. A worry certainly but Corinthians are in the final! Bring on the winner of Chelsea and Monterrey!
Follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Got something to say? Leave a comment – join the debate!
Que sufoco, Brian!
O jogo passou ao vivo aí na Inglaterra? Ouvi dizer que só passou no site da BBC. O Denis e o Alemão estavam com você? Abraço e Vai Corinthians!!!
Yeah, apparently it was on the BBC HD channel. Didn’t work on my PC so I had to watch it with some dodgy Portuguese from Portugal commentary… haha
Nope, Denis and Alemão didn’t make it out of their flat this morning. I think its too cold for them here!
Going to watch the Black Keys tomorrow night by the way – going to be awesome!!
I hope Corinthians win. I would prefer a Monterrey/Corinthians final. Lets keep it in the Americas. A Corinthians win will give Brazillian football a fillip especially in light of teh fact that the Team is not in the top five again.
I’d prefer a Europe v South America – far much more to talk about on here 😉 I’d say Corinthians were only not in the top 5 because of the ridiculous calendar in South America. I’ve complained about it time and again on here – teams that do well in the Libertadores spend the first month or two of the season in Brazil fielding their reserve – they are never going to win the title doing that.
Corinthians probably still the strongest team in Brazil in my opinion. Can’t say the same about Chelsea in England at the moment.
I don’t know much about Monterrey. Do you? Are they any good? I’m assuming so because most Mexican sides are. Should be a good game tomorrow (Thursday) morning.
Espero Corinthians ganhar. Prefiro a Monterrey/Corinthians final. Permite mantê-lo nas Américas. O Corinthians ganhar vai dar ao futebol da Brazillian um impulso especialmente í luz do fato que bispos reservaram a equipe não está no top cinco novamente.
I will say this for the last time, everywhere i go english fans say this is a tournament they dont care about and dont take seriously. Ok maybe the fans dont but the players do take it seriously and to say they dont is to try and diminish the accomplishments of teams from south america when they win it.
Chino, normally what the fans want and what the players want is pretty similar. Obviously, when a player steps over the white line he tries his best. I’m not arguing that. But this competition is not a priority for most European teams. FACT. Deal with it. Nobody is trying to diminish the achievements of South American teams. It seems to me like you are paranoid about this…. Why would I have a blog about Brazilian football if all I wanted to do was diminish the achievements of South American teams? The truth is the truth Chino, whether we like it or not.
Nope is not a fact is your opinion simple… go back and look at pep guardiola’s reaction when he won it for the first time.. he was crying like a baby from emotions.. he wouldnt do that if he didnt care or wanted to win it… go back and look at all the comments from chelsea players about wanting to win this…
is not a fact once again is your opinion…. how you know what the players want if they keep expressing the contrary …
and what the fans want is pretty similar to what the players want? lolol i laugh at that comment no need to answer that
Who keeps expressing their opinion to the contrary? The only Chelsea player I heard saying that he really wanted to win it was David Luiz who is a Corinthians fan and grew up in Brazil.
Pingback: Corinthians and the World Club Cup | Brazilian Football Blog
Most English fans didnt even know this tournment was taking place nor do they care. Well done to the South Americans for taking it seriously but it is bottom of the list of priorities for fans and players