After the Copa Libertadores and Brazilian Cup finals, we will finally have all focus on the Brazilian League. Of course that will abruptly change again when the Olympics start, but let’s focus on nice things, shall we?
CBF is a master on planning calendaries, and set Botafogo x Fluminense a week after Flu faced Flamengo. Simply… awesome!
Have in mind that game time is posted on GMT-3!
18:30 – Saturday 14 July, 2012 – Corinthians x Náutico
– Corinthians will have two key players back on their team: Paulinho and Ralf. Both of them were rumoured to be moving to Italy really soon, with bids coming from Inter Milan for Paulinho, and Fiorentina for Ralf. Corinthians just renewed their contracts, so it means they’ll be looking to show some service. Not only that but following their 3-1 defeat last Wednesday against Botafogo for a 7th round game delayed by the Copa Libertadores Finals, they will have the chance to turn a corner in their Brazilian League performance so far. And they will do it against Náutico, that even though managed to grab a win last week against Atlético-GO, isn’t the best team around.
18:30 – Saturday 14 July, 2012 – Figueirense x Atlético-MG
– Figueirense is coming from a somewhat solid performance at their home ground against a strong and motivated Vasco side. They managed to draw 1-1 last week, and they could’ve won the game if they didn’t miss so many opportunities. Meanwhile, Atlético-MG struggled to win Portuguesa at home, relying on a poor performance by goalkeeper Dida to score both of their goals. Atlético-MG coach Cuca is known to be a tactical gambler, but a very poor man manager. I wonder if he’ll be able to keep his squad turned on after a poor showing. So I’ll have to gamble on this one as well.
21:00 – Saturday 14 July, 2012 – Ponte Preta x Coritiba
– Unfortunately for Coritiba, they lost their 2nd Brazilian Cup final last Wednesday, and worst of all, consecutively. They’re away from home, which is their main strength, and their squad is not only tired but demotivated as well. Meanwhile Ponte Preta is coming from a win after Palmeiras last week, where they faced their reserves. Isn’t it obvious?
16:00 – Sunday 15 July, 2012 – Bahia x Flamengo
– Flamengo has had a pretty bad day yesterday. They heard a “No” from Wolfsburg regarding Diego’s loan offer, and it seems they also wiffed on getting former Roma defender and long-time Flamengo idol Juan. They’ll also miss Vagner Love and Botinelli, both suspended after getting their 3rd yellow card against Fluminense in the Fla-Flu derby, along with Marcos González, Leo Moura and Maldonado due to injury. On the other side, Bahia has been struggling to find their groove as they only won one game so far in the Brazilian League. But they’re getting Souza returning from an injury that kept him 2 months out the pitch, and they’re not as depleted as Flamengo. Both lost their last games, but Flamengo has been depleted and Bahia must find a win.
16:00 – Sunday 15 July, 2012 – Internacional x Santos
– That one will be a very interesting match, as both teams are missing some of their key players. Internacional lost Oscar and Leandro Damião, while Santos lost Ganso and Neymar due to the Olympics games call-ups. But Internacional’s squad has more quality pieces capable of filling in the shoes of their missed players in comparison with Santos’. Inter might have won their last game against Cruzeiro after much suffering, and Santos dominated Grêmio throughout their last match, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Quality will reign over serviceability.
16:00 – Sunday 15 July, 2012 – Cruzeiro x Grêmio
– That’s another interesting match. Cruzeiro hasn’t been in a good mood lately, but the same can be told about Grêmio. Both lost their last matches and important points in a title race. Still, Cruzeiro faced harder competition and didn’t lose due to poor performances, the exact opposite of Grêmio that haven’t been much impressive lately. Cruzeiro will get to play at their home this round, and I’m sure they’re steaming to get a game and to close their race after main rivals Atlético-MG. Grêmio… well, this might not be the best run of games for them.
16:00 – Sunday 15 July, 2012 – Botafogo x Fluminense
– The Vovô derby is here! And both teams are coming from good momentum: Botafogo trounced Bahia at home and Corinthians away, while Fluminense is the only team undefeated in the Brazilian League so far. Both are also pretty high on the league table, where Fluminense is 2nd and Botafogo is 4th. But they also will have to face some unwanted enemies. While Botafogo had to play in the middle of the week due to a delayed game against Corinthians, Fluminense will be missing two key players who have been their most important ones in their unbeaten run: goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri due to illness and midfielder Deco, suspended. Botafogo will also miss Seedorf, who hasn’t been fit yet, but might feature in Round 10. Fluminense might consider themselves lucky, but I think they’ll finally meet defeat in this match as their reserve goalkeeper and midfielder doesn’t bring as much confidence as their starters. It’s natural, but it’s a huge quality drop and I think Fluminense will take it very badly.
18:30 – Sunday 15 July, 2012 – Sport x Portuguesa
– Sport had a pretty even game against Corinthians reserves last week. The game was also even in the scoreboard, as they draw 1-1. Portuguesa on the other side had much game volume and practically dominated Atlético-MG last round, but didn’t turn it into goals and took 2 due to individual failure. As strong as Sport is at home, Portuguesa must be motivated after a good showing. It’ll give them the edge as well.
18:30 – Sunday 15 July, 2012 – Vasco x Atlético-GO
– Another pretty easy game, as Vasco got some happy news this week by signing defensive midfielder Wendel from Saudi Arabian team Al-Shabab, extending Dedé’s contract and keeping Diego Souza around. Atlético-GO is set to break a negative record, as they are the only team after 8 rounds this season to not win a single game. And I’m not sure if facing a motivated Vasco team, looking to overturn a bad draw against Figueirense away, will be easy for Dragão.
18:30 – Sunday 15 July, 2012 – Palmeiras x São Paulo
– Unfortunately, Palmeiras will have to play a derby right after winning their 2nd Brazilian Cup title. Their players must be tired, so Felipão will probably have to land a mixed team against São Paulo. On the other side, São Paulo is missing Lucas Moura from Brazil’s Olympics call-up; a key player missing, surely, but not as key as an entire team pretty tired after disputing 2 legs in a cup final.
Edge: São Paulo
Do you think I whiffed badly in a game or two? Well, discuss away!