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Listening Report: Brazilian League 2011 – Everything to Play for on the Final Day

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In this week’s main listening report, we feature the final game of the 2011 Brazilian season. Nothing has been decided with the title, Libertadores places and relegation all going down to the wire. This report has a transcript below, as well as explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post, while other key phrases (in blue) also have meanings explained.


This weekend sees the final round of the 2011 Brazilian championship taking place and the Brazilian federation have decided that the best way to avoid any suspicion of teams ‘throwing games‘ is to schedule a host of derby matches. Rivalry among teams from the same city or area in Brazil is huge so in Rio de Janeiro Flamengo take on Vasco and Botafogo play last year’s champions Fluminense. In São Paulo, Corinthians host Palmeiras and Santos are at home to São Paulo, while Internacional take on Grêmio in the Porto Alegre derby and América (MG) face Belo Horizonte rivals Atletico MG. Nothing has been decided yet with the title, final Libertadores places and relegation spots; they’re all going down to the wire.

The Title

Only two teams can still win the title on the final day: Corinthians from Ṣo Paulo and Vasco da Gama from Rio de Janeiro. Corinthians are two points clear and crucially have two more victories than their rivals which means that if the two teams are tied on points then Corinthians will take the title. They take on their Ṣo Paulo rivals Palmeiras this Sunday knowing that a draw will be enough to claim their first title since 2005 Рtheir fifth overall. Vasco are taking on their arch-rivals Flamengo knowing that only a win and a defeat for Corinthians will be enough to secure their own fifth Brazilian Championship. Can Vasco squeeze one more performance out of their aging side Рa side that has also won the Brazilian Cup and is still in the South American Cup semi-final? It has already been a great year for the Rio club but if they manage to win their remaining three games (one in the league, one continental semi-final second leg and a possible final) then it could be an historic one and for that alone I am going to go for them Vasco to snatch the title away from Corinthians.

Libertadores Qualification

Much like their English counterparts there is a top four battle in Brazil to determine who will qualify to play in next season’s Libertadores competition. However, thanks to Vasco’s Cup win and Santos being the reigning Libertadores champions the team that finishes in fifth and sixth spots will also make it to the continent’s biggest club tournament. Currently, four teams are fighting for the remaining three spots: Flamengo are in 4th on 60 points, that’s three ahead of surprise package Coritiba, Internacional and Figueirense. Coritiba have been the form team in November and I tip them to sneak into the top 5 along with Internacional and Flamengo.


At the bottom, Avaí have already been relegated while América and Paranense look odds-on to join them. However, the big surprise of the year is the fact that one of the big teams in Brazil, Gremio, face a real battle to stay up. Their draw with Ceará in the last game ensured that their fate remained in their own hands but they will have to secure a win against their city rivals Internacional to be sure of playing in the top flight next season. Internacional of course are not only playing for Copa Libertadores qualification but would love the opportunity to send down their rivals.

The tension of the final day will be immense with a title to be won, relegation to be avoided and Libertadores places to be secured in addition to a day of super derbies. It promises to be a cracker.


throwing games: To deliberately lose a game

a host of: A series of, a lot of

Flamengo take on Vasco and: Flamengo play Vasco

Corinthians host Palmeiras: are at home to

to secure: To win

I am going to go for them: To predict, to tip

counterparts: Equivalents

to sneak into: Just about make it

look odds-on: are favourites to

fate remained in their own hands: They have control of their own destiny

the top flight: The top division

a cracker: Really exciting

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  • A couple of months ago I was wondering how to say in English when a team deliberately lose a game.

    I thought of : give the game away.

    Now reading this nice Brazilian League 2011 report I found the equivalent:

    throwing games: To deliberately lose a game

    Nice guys!

    throwing games: (in Brazil we say “entregar o jogo”)

    • Hello Amadeu,
      The phrase ‘to give the game away’ suggests that a team played badly and lost or that they were not tactically aware and so gave the game away. To deliberately lose is ‘to throw the game’.

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