The Brazilian league once again proves that it is the most competitive soccer league in the world with a tight finish at the end. Last season, 5 clubs (Flamengo, Sao Paulo, Internacional, Palmeiras & Cruzeiro) could have been crowned champions in the final day of the season. This year, 3 clubs (Fluminense, Cruzeiro & Corinthians) are running neck a neck for another dramatic finish with only 7 rounds to go. Unpredictable results have been happening since the start, as it is a common ground in Brazilian soccer.
The tournament unfortunately starts in May runs through the first week of December (due to the negligence of CBF in adopting the European calendar in Brazil), is providing stunning results almost every round. Before the South Africa World Cup, the league had 7 round played, with Corinthians (managed by Mano Menezes, now Brazilian NT manager) and Ceara being top of the league with 16 points. After the World Cup break, Corinthians (with Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Bruno Cesar) and Fluminense (with Deco, Conca & Washington) grew away from the pack and started a two horse race. The two teams seemed that the tournament was going to be decided by them when Fluminense opened a 10 point gap to the third place Santos (with Ganso, Neymar & Edu Dracena). However, due to injuries, lack of form permitted Cruzeiro to join them in the title race and the pack from behind join in the battle for a Libertadores Cup place. Furthermore, in the Corinthians camp, the change of style from Mano Menezes’ more cautious approach to Adilson Batista’s aggressive attacking tactics, made the team lose many games which should have won!
The two teams that have been leading the majority of the tournament play different tactics. Fluminense’s tactics is based on a 3-5-2 scheme, traditionally used by their very competent manager Muricy Ramalho (who stunningly walked away from the Brazil National Team job!). The team is financed by one of the biggest health insurance companies of the country, and received funds to build a good team with Fred (ex-Lyon and Brazil World Cup 2006), Washington (ex- Sao Paulo & Atletico-PR), Deco (Ex Chelsea, Barcelona, Porto Portugal),Emerson (Arab football) & Conca (very good Argentinean). Deco and Conca provide the services in midfield, while Washington is responsible for the goal scoring, while Fred and Emerson are normally out injured. The team has suffered the most injuries in the whole tournament. Corinthians team alternates the globally new tactic 4-2-3-1 with the 4-4-2. The force of the team is based on a very strong midfield line, with Ralf, Jucilei (Brazil national Team – Juventus target) and Elias (Brazil National Team) giving the back bone to the midfield. The attack is mainly composed of the excellent Bruno Cesar as the playmaker and traditional #10. While in the wings the manager alternates between Jorge Henrique (now injured), the young Dentinho, the experienced Iarley (ex- Boca Juniors & Internacional) and the legendary Ronaldo (when fit). Mano Menezes used a more defensive approach. When he left the team, Adilson Batista (ex defender who played for Brazil, Gremio, Cruzeiro & Corinthians) made the team play a more offensive football, in which the team lost many silly games to teams like Ceara, and relegation battlers such as Atletico-GO & Atletico – MG. Players such as Bruno Cesar & Roberto Carlos complained about there positioning on the pitch, the first one not liking having to play to much on the right wing and the latter not liking having to attack much being glued to the opposing teams right back!
As of now, Fluminense lead the tournament with 54 points on goal difference against Cruzeiro. Corinthians is one point behind with 53. Santos is fourth with 48 with up to 10 teams only 10 points away from the leader. No other league in the world possess such an equilibrium year after year in its tournament standings. There are only seven games left and many points that can be won or lost. Fluminense are 7 games without winning, despite being the leaders. Cruzeiro, who were leading the tournament for 2 rounds, lost both there games (one being a thriller in there derby against Atletico-MG). And Corinthians with new manager Tite, have finally won a game against the eternal rivals Palmeiras (managed by Luis Felipe Scolari) ending a 7 game winning drought.
The tournament promises an emphatic ending, with emotions running high until the last round. All teams have very tough games, with a special mention to the visit of Cruzeiro playing Corinthians in the Pacaembu in Sao Paulo. There are no favorites in this unpredictable tournament.
Check this site for all the standings round by round
Check this site for the current standings and future games with the results simulator!
About the Author
Written by Dennys
Soccer fan with knowledge from Brazil and European Soccer!