Main Listening Report: Flamengo vs Vasco da Gama – The Derby of Millions

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In this week’s main listening report we look at one of the biggest games in the world – The Derby of Millions (Clássico dos Milhões) between Rio de Janeiro’s Vasco da Gama and Flamengo. This listening report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above.


Perhaps the Superclásico in Buenos Aires is better known, the Istanbul or Rome derbies more intense or the Glasgow derby more ferocious but Rio de Janeiro’s Clássico dos Milhões, the ‘Derby of the Millions’ almost certainly involves more fans than any other derby in the world. The former capital city of Brazil has a population of over six million and has four major clubs: Fluminense, Botafogo, Flamengo and Vasco da Gama and though games between each of these sides are always exciting it is the Flamengo-Vasco match that always attracts most attention. Indeed, it is said that these two sides have more followers than any other teams on the continent – hence the nickname: ‘ The Derby of the Millions’.


Both sides were founded in the 19th Century as sports clubs with Flamengo appearing three years earlier than Vasco in 1895. The two teams also have iconic kits with Vasco sporting a white top with a diagonal sash and black shorts, while Flamengo wear red and black hoops and black shorts. As for their home grounds, Flamengo usually play their big matches in the Maracana Stadium while Vasco’s home is the Sao Januario.


The two Rio sides are among the most successful in Brazil. Flamengo have won five Brazilian domestic league titles (the last of which came in 2009) and two Brazilian Cup wins. They have also won the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup – a forerunner of the World Club Cup – in 1981. Their crosstown rivals Vasco have won two Copa Libertadores titles – in 1948 and again forty years later in 1998. They have also secured four Brazilian league titles and one Copa do Brasil in 2011 as well as a host of state championships.


With so much success there have been many famous players on both sides down the years and some have even represented both teams, (for example, Edmundo, Romario and Bebeto) but the two stand-out players for each club has to be Zico for Flamengo and Roberto Dinamite for Vasco. The two of them played hundreds of times for their respective clubs breaking scoring records and leading their teams to glory. Centre-forward Dinamite lead Vasco to the Brazilian title of 1974, while Zico was pivotal during the ‘golden age’ of Flamengo in the early 1980s. Ironically for such an intense rivalry between the two sets of fans there was a lot of respect for each of these two top players.



Football vocabulary and phrases used in this week’s listening report

ferocious: Very fierce

sporting: Wearing

diagonal sash: A stripe that does not flow vertically or horizontally.

hence: Therefore

the last of which: Here the word ‘which’ refers to the title mentioned in the earlier clause

a forerunner: Something which came before

secured: Won

have represented: Have played for

Copa do Brasil: The Brazilian domestic cup (The equivalent in England is the FA Cup)

stand-out players: Most important

was pivotal: Very important; instrumental

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