quinta-feira, junho 19, 2014

10 Things you should know about Beira Rio Stadium

With the first of five matches at the Beira Rio in Porto Alegre about to be played at the 2014 World Cup, here are 10 things you should know about the Beira Rio to fully appreciate the soccer temple that it is.

The legendary Paulo Roberto Falcão, one of Brazils all time greats was born and bred at the Beira Rio playing for SC Internacional in the youth levels and professionally from the early 70's until 1980 before moving to Roma and becoming the "Eight King of Rome". Falcão played the 82 World Cup and was voted the second best player of the tournament only behind Italy's Paolo Rossi. He was Brazilian champs with Internacional in 75, 76 and undefeated in 79. In 1978 already a top class player, in one of the worst world cup decisions by a coach (Claudio Coutinho) he was inexplicably left off the Brazilian World Cup squad in favor of the forgettable Chicão. Back then not being from a Rio or São Paulo team was a disadvantage as the power of media was focused in that area of the country and players there had more visability. Still he was very well known and his Internacional teammate Batista was a starter on that 78 team. His non-selection to this day remains an enigma in Brazilian soccer. With Falcão on that team, the outcome of the 78 World Cup could very well have been different. 


One of the most amazing, almost circus-like goals you will ever see happened at the Beira Rio in 1976. The goal itself was a work of art, but what makes it even more special is that it was a last minute desperation clutch play in the extra time of the Brazilian Championship Semi-Final match between Internacional and Atletico Mineiro (which had a powerhouse team led by Toninho Cerezo). 

With the score tied at 1, Internacional, the defending champions, were seconds away from being eliminated. With the clock running out Chilean and Inter legend Figueroa, Falcão, Dario and Escurinho went to their secret playbook. A play so difficult to pull off that anytime they practiced it anyone watching would laugh and tell them it would never work in a real game. But it worked. The goal put Inter in the final which they would win against Corinthians. It was Inter's second Brazilian Chamionship (which started in 1971). Here is the amazing clutch goal by Falcão, which started with Figueroa in midfield. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRvs6hGN6xI


Falcão is not the only legendary Brazilian player to have grown up at the Beira Rio. Taffarel and Dunga both world cup Champs grew up at the Beira Rio. Brazil's 1974 Right Winger World Cup starter Valdomiro and Batista a 1978 Starter at the World cup and the man Maradona kicked and got a red card for at the 82 world cup both developed at the Beira Rio. Other notable Beira Rio babies: Alexandre Pato, Mauro Galvão (WC 86, 90), 2014 starter Oscar (he came to the Beira Rio at the age of 18) among many others.

The Beira Rio stadium when first suggested back in the early 60's became the butt of a joke for crosstown rival Grêmio fans. The land Inter intended on building the stadium on was in the middle of the Guaíba River. Apparently though, Grêmio fans were not aware of the possibilities of Landfill construction. The stadium was slowly built with the help of fan money and construction materials. Fans would periodically drop of cement, bricks and anything else they had to help. By 1969 the stadium was finsihed and a new winning Era for Internacional began.


There are some strange coincidences between Inter, the Beira Rio and Baseballs Cincinnati Reds.

a- Beira Rio translated means Riverfront. The Reds Stadium was Riverfront Stadium.
b- Inter won the National Championship in 1975 and 1976. The Reds won the World Series in 1975 and 1976.
c- Inter is known for its Red and White uniform. The Reds...well they are also Red and White.
d- The Beira Rio was finished in 1969. Riverfront Stadium in 1970.
e- The Reds were the Team of the Decade in the 70's. Inter was also the Team of the decade in the 70's.
f- The Reds biggest Star was #5 Johnny Bench. Inter's biggest Star was #5 Falcão.
g - Inter's is called by their fans as "Colorado" which translated means Reds.
h- If you take out the SC from Inter's logo, what you have left is the Reds logo. A very similarly designed letter C.
I - One thing that does not match is that the Beira Rio is alive and well. The same can't be said about Riverfront stadium.  

Most of the Stadiums at the 2014 World Cup were either built new or almost entirely rebuilt. The Maracana for example on the inside looks nothing like the classic Maracana. It's a different stadium than it was. The Beira Rio though maintains its traditional shape and feel. Two major things were changed at the Stadium: A modern roof was added and the lower deck was completely rebuilt to be a little closer to the field (the standing room area and moat are gone). The upper deck is the same with seats added and some cleaning and touching up. Other than that the stadium had a facelift but still feels like the Beira Rio of old.


Immediately after the construction of the Beira Rio in 1969 Inter's fortunes which had been lackluster since the mid 50's changed. Starting in 69 Inter won a record breaking 8 consecutive Campeonato Gaúcho Championships (from 1969 to 1976). They also won the 1975 and 1976 Brazilian Championship with dominating teams. In 1979 Inter once again won the Brazilian Championship, this time Undefeated. Something that had never happened before or since. All of the 3 Final Brasileirão title matches took place at the Beira Rio, with Inter winning all 3. 1x0 against Cruzeiro in 75, 2x0 against Corinthians in 76 and 2x1 against Vasco in 79. Inter was voted the team of the Decade in Brazil by the Brazilian press. 

In the 2000's Inter with the energy of the Beira Rio behind them would once again be considered by many as the team of the decade (only disputed by São Paulo FC). Starting in 2006 Inter would win every International trophy they played for. In 2006 they would win the Libertadores at the Beira Rio against São Paulo. In 2007 they would win the ReCopa at the Beira Rio. In 2008 they won the SulAmericana at the Beira Rio against Argentine side Estudiantes. In 2010 they would conquer the Libertadores again at home against Mexican side Chivas after eliminating São Paulo in the semi's. Outside of the Beira Rio in 2006 Inter also defeated Barcelona at the Club World Cup in Japan for the World Championship.


Of all the Brazilian Stadiums in the World Cup only 3 are owned by a club (others are owned by the city or State). Beira Rio is one of them as it is owned by SC Internacional. Internacional has the distinction of being the only Club in Brazil and possibly one of very few clubs in the world to have hosted the World Cup twice. During the 1950 World Cup, Inter's Eucaliptos Stadium (just recently demolished) hosted 2 games during that World cup. Now in 2014, Inter's Beira Rio will host 5 matches.

The Beira Rio has always been known to have consistently the best pitch in Brazilian soccer. Year after year, players and press have voted the field at the stadium to be top in the league. It should not be any different during the 2014 World Cup.


Last week former National Team player and Inter legend Fernandão died at the age of 36 in a helicopter accident. Fernandão is highly considered along with Falcão as Inter's most important player of all time. Fernandão's arrival in 2004 helped change Inter into the team that starting in 2006 would win the Libertadores and World Championship. Fernandão was the Captain that lifted the trophy after defeating Barcelona in Japan in 2006. A Makeshift memorial was made by fans at the Beira Rio last week and can still be visited outside the Stadium. The Club promises to maintain the memorial to honor the player. Inter requested FIFA to have 1 minute of silence before the France Honduras game in his memory.This tradegy has greatly affected Porto Alegre and the entire State of Rio Grande do Sul. Many fans will be honoring him at the Stadium during the World Cup.