Definitions

Copa_do_Brasil

Copa do Brasil

The Copa do Brasil (or Cup of Brazil) is a knockout competition played by 64 football teams, representing all 26 Brazilian states plus the Federal District. From 2001 onwards, due to the busy schedule in the first semester in Brazil, teams playing in the Copa Libertadores have not been allowed to participate in the Copa do Brasil in the same year. This has allowed lesser teams to have a shot at the title, since the best clubs are usually playing the continental competition.

Format

The tournament is played in two-legged knockout stages. In the first two rounds the away team automatically goes through to the next round if they beat the home team by a 2-goal difference or more in the first leg.

The away goals rule is used in the Copa do Brasil, which is an unusual feature when compared to other South American competitions. For example, the Copa Libertadores did not adopt this rule until 2005.

Copa do Brasil is an opportunity for teams from smaller states to play against the big teams and episodes of giant-killing have happened at a regular rate throughout the competition history.

The winner automatically qualifies for the next year's Copa Libertadores, which prevents a team from winning the Copa do Brasil twice in a row.

History

Because it is a knock-out competition, Copa do Brasil provides plenty of opportunities for dramatic matches to happen. But it must be noted that some of the giants of Brazilian football, like Santos, Vasco da Gama, Botafogo, São Paulo and Atletico Mineiro have never won the Copa do Brasil.

1989: A valuable trophy

The Copa do Brasil was created this year by CBF as a way of integration of all clubs throughout Brazil. Smaller clubs had the chance to play against the most famous teams in Brazil, but the big ones did not care about it. Even the prize - a spot in Libertadores - did not attract their attention. Grêmio saw it was a shortcut to the continental competition and gave it all in this first edition. In the semifinals, Grêmio thrashed Flamengo 6-1 at home, still the worst defeat Flamengo had so far in the history of this tournament.

1991: Criciúma beats Grêmio

Criciúma EC (then an unknown team from the small, but prosperous state of Santa Catarina) had made its debut the previous year, reaching the semifinals, and coached by the yet unknown Luiz Felipe Scolari, but no one dared foresee that "David" could kill "Goliath" (personified in the mighty black-blue club from Porto Alegre). It is true that Grêmio did not have a brilliant squad back then - they had been relegated to Série B earlier that year - but it was a shock nevertheless.

1992: Disputed result

Fluminense and Internacional reached the finals for the first time. In the first match, played in the tiny Laranjeiras Stadium, Fluminense won 2-1. Second leg was played in the wide Beira-Rio Stadium crowded with 60,000 people. Fluminense was able to hold Internacional until the 86th minute, when the referee said penalty-kick on a foul regarded by many as non-existent. Inter's defender Célio Silva powerful shot gave the hosts their first national championship since 1979.

1993: A decisive mistake

Grêmio had reached the finals for the 3rd time in only 5 editions of the cup and this time they met also giant Cruzeiro. First leg in Porto Alegre was played under heavy rain and the teams were unable to score. In Belo Horizonte, Cruzeiro took an early lead but soon Grêmio managed to equalize. Everything was going fine for the visitors until their goalkeeper Eduardo let a ball shot by Cleison go between his legs. Cruzeiro held the lead and won the Copa do Brasil for the first time.

1994: Ceará rises

Ceará is one of the poorest Brazilian states and never had a national champion (or any team close to being champion). But in 1994 its namesake club nearly made it, winning twice, but failing at the third time of asking, against the "big ones". In the first round Ceará SC sent back the star-filled Palmeiras from São Paulo State, 1993 and 1994 Série A winners. They then proceeded to beat Internacional from Porto Alegre. The semi-final was thought to be easier, against the also-unknown Linhares, from Espírito Santo State. Unfortunately for Ceará, however, Grêmio had learned the lesson of 1991 and gave them no chance.

1995: Grêmio is there once again

Grêmio had reached the finals for an impressive 5th time, setting themselves as the team to be defeated in this competition. This year, Grêmio had their attention divided between Copa do Brasil and Copa Libertadores. Corinthians had nothing to do with it and defeated them 1-0 in Olímpico Stadium. Grêmio's fans, recognizing the efforts of the players, sang the anthem of the club until the end of the match.

1996: The Parmalat machine falls out

In 1996, the first match between Cruzeiro and Palmeiras in Belo Horizonte finished 1-1. Palmeiras were considered to be the best team in Brazil at the time, with players such as Cafu, Cléber, Júnior, Djalminha, Luizão and Rivaldo, all managed by Vanderlei Luxemburgo. A simple home victory would have been enough to give the title to the Palmeiras. The palmeirense victory was practically certain. After only 5 minutes, following a beautiful piece of play by Djalminha, Luizão opened the score. The fans were already commemorating the victory. Still in the first half, in a thundering imperfection of Amaral, Roberto Gaucho stole the ball and tied the game. Palmeiras pressured in search of a second goal, but Cruzeiro had goalkeeper Dida, who, with miraculous saves, did not let the ball into the net. In the 83rd minute, after a cross by Palhinha, goalkeeper Velloso left the ball at the feet of Marcelo Ramos who pushed it towards the net. Cruzeiro won 2-1 and took their second Copa do Brazil title. Arriving in Belo Horizonte, the champions paraded in a firetruck, and were received by around 100,000 fans.

1997: A giant in silence

Grêmio and Flamengo met again, this time deciding the championship. In the first match, Flamengo played away against a 10-men side, due to Dinho's sent off after a hard tackle against Sávio, but could not manage to score. Two days after, in a crowded Maracanã, Flamengo had the lead and the fans were already celebrating when a late goal by Grêmio's midfielder Carlos Miguel gave the visitors the win in away goals after a 2-2 draw, silencing nearly 100,000 people inside the stadium.

1999: Juventude surprises Botafogo

Botafogo, one of the four Rio giants, had been enjoying a good time since 1994 and had one of its best squads since the departure of Garrincha but they were no match for the still unknown Juventude, a club that rocketed from obscurity to nationwide fame thanks to millions pumped in by sponsors (mostly Parmalat) and cleverly used by its managers. The first match, contested in Caxias do Sul, ended with a tough score of 2-1 to Juventude, which gave the advantage to a simple 1-0 victory for Botafogo in its home in order to conquer the cup. In the final match, however, the Maracanã Stadium once again showed its creepiness: more than 100,000 Botafogo fans wept in despair after the 0-0 draw that robbed the "Lone Star" club its so desired title. The result was so surprising that the TV channels did not have full-sized reproductions of Juventude's badge to show onscreen (as they traditionally do when a team wins a competition) nor did they have the recording of Juventude's anthem (also traditionally played on air to honour the champion). Juventude's celebration was accompanied by only the footsteps of thousands of fans leaving the stadium, the cries of the players and a handful of fireworks brought by some few Juventude fans.

2000: Just in time

The final of 2000 was played between Cruzeiro and São Paulo. At the end of the first match of the two-leg-final, São Paulo held an advantage over their opponents by one goal. In the second game, which took place in a crowded Mineirão, it was São Paulo who, even playing as an away team, scored first; but Cruzeiro managed to draw in the 80th minute of regular time thanks to a goal by Fábio Júnior. Then in the last minutes, deep into additional time, Geovanni scored. Cruzeiro became the second team to win three Copa do Brasil's after only Grêmio.

2001: Grêmio strikes again

History loves to repeat itself and in the 2001 Copa do Brasil it was no different. Just like 1994 and 1997, after Cruzeiro EC's titles, Grêmio answered, bringing the trophy back home. However, they did not have an easy run. On their way to the title, the black and blue squad faced Santa Cruz, the most popular team of Pernambuco State, Fluminense, the club with the most carioca league titles in history, and São Paulo, two-times world champions at that time. The final was against 1995 Copa do Brasil, 1998 and 1999 Brazilian League champions Corinthians Paulista. The first game was held in Porto Alegre and Grêmio overcame a 2-0 deficit to finish with a 2-2 tie. The second league was held in the gigantic stadium of Morumbi in São Paulo and Corinthians Paulista needed just a 0-0 draw to retain the trophy. In the end, Grêmio showed why they seem to be born to play home-and-away tournaments, and won the match, 3-1.

2002: The Alligator bites hard

The Alligator is the mascot for Brasiliense, a young team from Brasilia which had not a shadow of a reputation when it repeated Ceara's deeds seven years before and defeated two giants (Fluminense and Atlético Mineiro) on its way to the final, only to be beaten by the mighty Corinthians, the would-be champions that year.

2003: Champions without plea

In 2003, the team that would later come to conquer the Triple Crown, were champions of the Copa do Brazil in unbeatable form. Managed by Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Cruzeiro tied the first match of the final versus Flamengo 1-1, in a game where the craque (ace) Alex scored a fantastic goal, de letra. In the second match, in Belo Horizonte, after 30 minutes Cruzeiro were already leading 3-0, with three goals from the heads of Deivid, Aristizábal and Luisão. The game finished 3-1 and Cruzeiro gained its fourth title of the Copa do Brasil.

2004: Flamengo's unforgettable match

2004 will never be forgotten by Flamengo fans, but not for winning: that year a Série B team from São Paulo beat the Rio de Janeiro giants. Besides defeating Flamengo in the final, EC Santo André had previously sent home Palmeiras too.

2005: Lightning does strike twice in the same place

For the second time an obscure team from São Paulo (this time Paulista) defeated a big one from Rio (this time Fluminense). Unlike Santo André, however, Paulista had a hard time all the way: to reach the final it had to beat Botafogo-Rio de Janeiro, Juventude-Rio Grande do Sul, Cruzeiro-Minas Gerais, Figueirense-Santa Catarina and Internacional-Rio Grande do Sul (Champion of FIFA World Club Cup 2006) - ***all of them first division teams.***

2006: Flamengo returns

For the first time the competition's finals were held between two clubs of the same state. Flamengo beat its greatest rivals Vasco da Gama to win a second Copa do Brasil title. Flamengo was granted the right to play in the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 2002.

2007: Champions at last

After reaching the finals for the third time, Fluminense won the 2007 edition of the Copa do Brasil. So, Figueirense, the runners-up, did not achieve the same feat of its rival Criciúma, champions in 1991. Fluminense was granted the right to play in the Copa Libertadores 23 years after its last participation in 1985.

2008: Sport Recife surprises Brazil

After having beaten Brazilian football giants such as Vasco, Palmeiras, and Internacional; Sport Recife beat Corinthians (June 11 2008), 2-0 in the last match at Ilha do Retiro and won the tournament on away goals (aggregate score: 3-3), after a 3-1 loss to Corinthians. This was the first time a team from the Brazilian Northeast won the Copa do Brasil, and the second time Sport has qualified to play in the Copa Libertadores.

List of champions

Year Final Semifinalists
Winner Score Runner-up

1989
Details
0 - 0
2 - 1

1990
Details
1 - 0
0 - 0

1991
Details
1 - 1
0 - 0

1992
Details
1 - 2
1 - 0

1993
Details
0 - 0
2 - 1

1994
Details
0 - 0
1 - 0

1995
Details
2 - 1
1 - 0

1996
Details
1 - 1
2 - 1

1997
Details
0 - 0
2 - 2

1998
Details
0 - 1
2 - 0

1999
Details
2 - 1
0 - 0

2000
Details
0 - 0
2 - 1

2001
Details
2 - 2
3 - 1

2002
Details
2 - 1
1 - 1

2003
Details
1 - 1
3 - 1

2004
Details
2 - 2
2 - 0

2005
Details
2 - 0
0 - 0

2006
Details
2 - 0
1 - 0

2007
Details
1 - 1
1 - 0

2008
Details
1 - 3
2 - 0

Cups by team

Club State Titles

Cruzeiro 4 titles
Grêmio 4 titles
Corinthians 2 titles
Flamengo 2 titles
Criciúma 1 title
Fluminense 1 title
Internacional 1 title
Juventude 1 title
Palmeiras 1 title
Paulista 1 title
Santo André 1 title
Sport 1 title

Cups by state

State Titles

6 titles
5 titles
4 titles
3 titles
1 title
1 title

External links

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