Cruzeiro won the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Brazilian Cup (or Copa do Brasil).
The 2018 edition started in January and pitted some of the country’s top sides against minnows from obscure places. Each of Brazil’s 26 states enters a team into the competition. Albeit with a shorter history, it has some of the same magic as the FA Cup in England – giant killings are common and it gives obscure teams a moment in the spotlight. The prize money is handy too and it gives teams an automatic route into the Copa Libertadores group stages for the next year. The big boys take it seriously, sometimes even more seriously than the league.
Unlike England, where the Premier League sides enter the FA Cup in the third round, in Brazil, Serie A teams not in the Copa Libertadores enter in the first round. The first round draw for the 2019 Brazilian Cup has already taken place. The dates for the first games haven’t been set but the competition started in early February last year. The draw ensures that the big boys don’t face each other, but with the games coming so early in the season and the players lacking match fitness, there can be surprises in the early rounds.
Vitoria, Internacional, Sao Paulo, Atletico-MG, Coritiba, Atletico-PR, Fluminense navigated tricky early round ties in 2018 – some by the skin of their teeth – but there were some notable scalps: Botafogo lost to little-heard-of Aparecidense in the first round, while Sport and Parana lost to Ferroviario and Sampaio Correa in the second round. Corinthians play Ferroviario in the first round in 2019.
For a full list of games, check out the Globoesporte Copa do Brasil page.
The teams involved in the Copa Libertadores got a free pass until the fifth round in 2018.
Last updated on 29 December 2018.