Podcast 40: The Copa Libertadores

While the season in Europe is coming to a close, things in South America are just beginning to hot up, so languagecaster takes a look at the biggest cup competition south of the equator.

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The most important club competition in South America is of course the Copa Libertadores and this year is a particularly important one as it is the 50th edition of this prestigious tournament.

Teams from the 10 South American countries that make up CONMEBOL were joined this year by sides from Mexico making a total of 38 teams at the start of the competition way back in January. Since then, the tournament has lost some big names including Argentina’s River Plate and Lanús, as well as last season’s winners, LDU Quito from Ecuador. Two other teams to fall by the wayside were Guadalajara and San Luis, both from Mexico, but neither of which were beaten on the pitch. Instead, due to the outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus in that country, both teams withdrew at the start of the knockout stage. This caused quite a lot of uncertainty and a huge fixture-pile up ensued. This meant  that some clubs are already through to the last 8, and others have played one leg of the first knock-out stage. Two teams, Boca Jrs and Uruguay’s Defensor, have yet to play their last 16 match.

So far, we do know that Brazil already has 3 teams in the quarter-finals with Cruzeiro hoping to make it four if they beat Universidad de Chile this week. Guadalajara’s withdrawal allowed São Paulo to get through and Palmeiras made it in dramatic style after beating compatriots, Sport Recife, on penalties. Argentina should have two teams in the last 8 with Boca Jrs favourites to beat Uruguay’s Defensor and Estudiantes already 3-0 up from the first leg away from home against minnows from Paraguay Libertad. That leaves Nacional from Uruguay, who benefited from the flu outbreak, to make it and surprise package Caracas from Venezuela: though neither side is expected to make it through to the semis. Nacional play Palmeiras, while fellow Brazilians Grêmio play the Venezuelan side.

So who is going win it this year? The Brazilian contingent looks strong, but while Boca are still there the Argentinians always have a chance such is their experience and tradition in the Copa Libertadores. Boca to beat Estudiantes in the semi-final but then to lose out to São Paulo in the final. There, you heard it first on languagecaster.com.

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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PodcastEpisode 129