Fluminense has crossed the Rubicon: now, it’s all or almost nothing, because, in Brazil, being runner-up is sometimes even worse than not playing in the final, such is the disappointment.
It is up to the tricolor to repeat Inter, in 2006, and Corinthians, in 2012, who, after defeating the same Al Ahly in the semi-finals, won the world title against Barcelona and Chelsea.
Palmeiras also defeated the Egyptian club, in 2022, but succumbed to Chelsea.
If Laranjeiras fans can now celebrate not having fallen in the semi-finals as Inter did in 2010, Atlético Mineiro in 2013, Palmeiras in 2020, and Flamengo in 2022, the risk of a screw-up in the decision, as suffered by Santos from Barcelona in 2011 is huge.
Not having a defeat against the Congolese Mazembe, the Moroccan Raja Casablanca, the Mexican Tigres or the Saudi Al Hilal, as the Colorados from Rio Grande do Sul, the Atleticanos from Minas Gerais, the Alviverdes from São Paulo and the Red-Negros from Rio de Janeiro have in their histories, allows for undeniable relief.
But a repeat of that 4-0 defeat imposed by the Catalans on Santos will make everything go down the drain.
And Flu’s fair 2-0 victory over Al Ahly should not hide the scares, or the luck of the Egyptian team finishing poorly, invariably on Fábio, in addition to having wasted two deadly counterattacks — because whoever was with the ball made the wrong decision by not giving it to the teammate next to him.
Allowing Manchester City the spaces given to the strong, well-organized and fast Egyptians will be catastrophic.
Don’t be fooled by City’s latest results in the English Championship.
He drew with Liverpool and Tottenham, two classics, by playing better than his rivals; lost to Premier League sensations Aston Villa; beat little Luton; and drew, playing to score, with Crystal Palace, because they messed up at the end and lost focus when saving themselves.
In fact, below-average results for Pep Guardiola’s men, although with very acceptable performances.
And without the brilliant Kevin De Bruyne in all of them, without the Belgian taking the place of Rodri, in three of those games, and without the goalscorer Haaland in two.
Nothing that affected the ball possession, the intensity, the dominance of the games, with the exception of the defeat to Aston Villa, when they had a bad journey.
Guardiola left England furious with the team and made a point of making his discontent clear.
Upon arriving in Saudi Arabia, however, he gave interviews with a smile and, politically correct, said he was privileged to be able to compete for the last trophy that City is missing.
The Japanese Urawa Reds, defeated 3-0, felt the English power firsthand after the audacity that led them to eliminate the Mexicans from León.
It is obvious that the Catalan coach, who was in charge of Barça in the massacre against Santos, looks at the confrontation with Brazilian teams with special pleasure, for everything that our football has already meant.
If it is up to Fernando Diniz to give it a new meaning, which he failed to achieve in the Brazilian team, on the contrary, for Guardiola, yet another imposition on the former kings of football certainly has a different flavor.
The possibility of a tricolor victory is no more than 10%, and look.
Less bad than Felipe Melo will not have to chase after the injured Haaland.
Ah yes, in football anything is possible. Even the impossible.
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