Friday, 9 April 2010

Brazilian Football: 2010 So Far..

Now as a few of you will know, I am currently residing in São Paulo, Brasil for the next month or so, and following on from my previous post about Brazilian football, I thought I would post a bit of an update on the current 2010 Brazilian football season.

As is mentioned in that previous post, the Brazilian football season starts in January with the State Championships, which run until May, when teams get prepared for the National Championship, the Brasileirão. So what I'm going to do here is give a little recap of where we stand currently in the major state championships, and any important cup competitions.

We'll start with arguably the biggest of the Campeonatos Estaduais, the Paulistão of São Paulo state.

Campeonato Paulista

The Campeonato Paulista, or Paulistão as it is popularly known, is the State Championship for the state of São Paulo. The top division is made up of 20 teams from the state. Each team plays eachother once during the campaign, after all games have been played, the four best-placed teams enter into the final knockout stage to compete for the trophy.

Generally speaking, the top four is usually made up of the G-4 clubs in São Paulo state; São Paulo, Palmeiras, Corinthians and Santos. This year has been a little different though, with only São Paulo and Santos progressing to the final stage.

Of the two that missed out on the top-four places, Palmeiras had by far the more disappointing campaign. The Verdão finished in an embarassing 11th position, with 6 losses and 11 points behind fourth place. This recent disappointment is just another in a series of disappointments for Palmeiras fans, and they will be fearing what may happen if the team does not improve quickly with the 2010 Brasileirão approaching soon. Palmeiras' main rivals Corinthians were the other G-4 side to miss out on a top-four place. Unlike Palmeiras, Timão came very close to qualification, only missing out by one point.

Now enough about the teams that failed to make it, let's go over the four semi-finalists. First of all, the most impressive team of the tournament this year, Santos. Finishing 10 points clear of their nearest challengers, Santos dominated this year's Paulistão, beating teams by four or five goals on a regular basis, even recording a 9-1 victory over Ituano. Santos are a team in a great position, with the loan signing of Robinho, and great performances from young stars like Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso and André, they are truly a great team to watch.

The next two qualifiers are the surprise finalists, Santo André and Grêmio Prudente. Both sides had solid campaigns, with both finishing on 37 points. Arguably, they would not have qualified if São Paulo, Corinthians and Palmeiras played to their potential, but with the poor performances of the other G-4 teams, the hard work and perserverance of Santo André and Grêmio has paid off with a semi-final place.

The last semi-final place went to São Paulo, despite having a fairly disappointing season by their standards. The Tricolor finished with 36 points, with 5 losses, just managing to outmuscle their rivals Corinthians and reach fourth place. The four finalists will now compete in two-legged semi-finals (Santos x São Paulo and Santo André x Grêmio) to compete for a place in the two-legged 2010 Paulistão final.

Here is the final league table and the schedule for the semi-finals of the 2010 Paulistão. Note that the times are in Brazilian time (UTC-3). The semi-finals will most likely be available to watch this Sunday on the free bet365.com Live Streaming service.

(tables taken from globoesporte.globo.com)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Campeonato Carioca

The Campeonato Carioca is the State Championship for the state of Rio de Janeiro. The format is a bit different from the Paulistão, as the Carioca is split into three phases, the Taça Guanabara, the Taça Rio and the Finals. In the Taça Guanabara, the 16 teams in the top division are split into two groups of 8. The G-4 of Rio de Janeiro (Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco) are seeded so they are split equally into the two groups. The teams then play every team in their group once, and the top two from each group progress to the knockout stage to determine the winner. This year, Botafogo became the champions of the 2010 Taça Guanabara, defeating Vasco 2x0 in the final.

Next comes the Taça Rio, it's format is very similar, with the 16 teams kept in the same groups as the Taça Guanabara, but this time they play each team from the other group once. Then, same as the Taça Guanabara, the top two sides from each group progress to the knockout phase to find the winner. The winner of the Taça Rio will then play the winner of the Taça Guanabara in a two-legged final to determine the winner of the Campeonato Carioca (unless of course the same team wins both the Taça Guanabara and Taça Rio, then they are automatically crowned champions).

This year's Taça Rio saw Flamengo and Fluminense cruise to victory in Group A, and Botafogo and Vasco progressing from Group B, Vasco only qualifying by one point. This weekend will see the semi-finals of Botafogo x Fluminense and Flamengo x Vasco. The winner of the Taça Rio will then play Botafogo over two legs to decide the Campeonato Carioca (unless of course Botafogo win the Taça Rio as well). The Final will be played at the Maracanã on the 26th April and the second leg on the 2nd May. Once again, there is a good chance these games will be shown on bet365.com's free Live Streaming service.

Campeonato Gaúcho

Now, just a quick review of some of the other major state championships. The Campeonato Gaúcho is contested in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, home to the two big sides from Porto Alegre; Internacional and Grêmio. The format is somewhat similar to the Carioca, with 18 sides contesting two seperate cups (this time the Taça Fernando Carvalho and Taça Fábio Koff) with the winners of each playing a two-legged final for the Campeonato Gaúcho title. One difference from the Carioca, is that in each cup, the top four from each group progress to the knockout phase, as opposed to just the top two teams in the Carioca.

The 2010 Gaúcho has so far seen Grêmio win the Taça Fernando Carvalho, beating Novo Hamburgo 1x0 in the Final. Currently, the Taça Fábio Koff is in the quarter-final stage, Internacional and Ypiranga booking their places in the semi-finals against eachother, after beating Novo Hamburgo and Caxias respectively. In the other quarter finals, São José eliminated Inter de Santa Maria through penalties for a place in the semi-finals where they will face Pelotas, who surprisingly outclassed Grêmio to win 2x1 in the fourth quarter-final.

Inter will now be desperate to win the Taça Fábio Koff, to set up the grand final against bitter rivals Grêmio, and they will be highly favoured to do just that. The semi-finals will be played this weekend and may well be available on the bet365.com Live Streaming service.


Campeonato Mineiro

The last of the Campeonatos Estaduais I'll review is the Campeonato Mineiro of Minas Gerais state. Minas Gerais is the second most populous state in Brasil behind São Paulo state. It contains the urban centre of Belo Horizonte, home to the two big sides in the Mineiro; Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro. The Mineiro has a simple and straightforward format, there are 12 teams in the top level, throughout the campaign each team plays one another only once. Then the 8 best-placed sides advance to the knockout stage to decide the champion.

At the moment, the 2010 Mineiro is in the semi-finals stage, Cruzeiro facing Ipatinga and Atlético Mineiro being drawn against Democrata-GV. The first legs of these semis will take place this weekend, with the second legs played one week later. Generally a Atlético x Cruzeiro final is expected, but after the solid league display of Democrata-GV, Atlético may have a tougher time making the final than they first thought.

Copa do Brasil

Copa do Brasil is Brasil's top domestic cup competition, held in high regard in clubs throughout Brasil with the 2011 Copa Libertadores place at stake for the winner a huge incentive for success.

The tournament itself has a straight two-legged knockout format with 64 teams entered (they qualify either through their 2009 State Championship performances, or by CBF rankings). Teams that are qualified for the 2010 Copa Libertadores are not entered into the competition due to scheduling conflicts, so that means that reigning champions Corinthians and Flamengo, Internacional, São Paulo and Cruzeiro were not entered.

Currently we are in the last-16 stage of the tournament, and only two Série A teams have thus far been eliminated, Botafogo and newly promoted Ceará. The last-16 ties include four all-Série A clashes and the first legs are played on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th April, with the second legs one week later. The complete list of last-16 ties are as follows:

Corinthians-PR x Vasco de Gama
Goiás x Vitória
Santa Cruz x Atlético-GO
Palmeiras x Atlético-PR
Fluminense x Portuguesa
Grêmio x Avaí
Santos x Guarani
Atlético-MG x Sport


Now, that's it for this post. I do recommend you have a look out for these upcoming games, the State Championships get quite tense, and with local pride at stake in every game, expect some really intense encounters. I'll post a final review of these competitions in May, just linking back to this post letting you know how it all turns out...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be in Rio, for three nights only, the 16, 17 and 18 March 2011. I can't find any fixtures for these dates. I'd love to go to the Maracana. Might I be in luck?
MN

martinnarey@tiscali.co.uk

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