Boasting an enviable domestic record that includes three Brazilian Serie A titles – one of them attained with an unbeaten record – one Copa do Brasil and 39 state championships, Internacional are also a force to be reckoned with on the continental stage.
Over the last four seasons O Colorado have won all Latin American football’s major club titles, namely the Copa Sudamericana, the Recopa Sudamericana and, on two occasions, the coveted Copa Libertadores.
Yet the most significant moment in this golden era in the club’s history came in 2006 when, thanks to a goal from Adriano, they beat the mighty Barcelona in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, a tournament that witnessed the emergence of one Alexandre Pato. Inter have maintained their consistency on the international scene since then, going on to beat Inter Milan in the final of the 2008 Dubai Cup.
The Porto Alegre side invested a significant sum of money in their ultimately successful bid to win the Libertadores for a second time, bringing in Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati and a clutch of new signings. Fossati took the side, led by Argentinian midfielder Andres D’Alessandro, through to the semi-finals only to be replaced by Celso Roth after some poor results and criticism from the fans.
Making the most of the break for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Roth dipped into the transfer market and brought home three heroes of the 2006 team: Renan, Tinga and Rafael Sobis. Revitalised, Inter saw off compatriots Sao Paulo in the last four before lifting the trophy for a second time when they beat Mexico’s Guadalajara 5-3 on aggregate in the final.
Semi-final victory over Sao Paulo guaranteed Internacional a place at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 as Guadalajara, in their capacity as a Copa Libertadores invitee and member of CONCACAF, were ineligible to represent CONMEBOL. Having held on to the core of the team, the Brazilians are banking on the talent of D’Alessandro and Giuliano and the experience of Bolivar, Kleber and Pablo Guinazu to make an impact in Abu Dhabi, where they will go in search of world title number two.
Tesourinha, Braulio, Falcao, Figueroa, Benitez, Manga, Paulo Cesar Carpegiani, Batista, Valdomiro, Claudio Duarte, Dunga, Mauro Galvao, Taffarel, Gamarra, Fernandao
Bolivar, Kleber, Guinazu, Taison, Tinga, D’Alessandro, Giuliano, Rafael Sobis, Alecsandro
Inter ended the group phase of the Copa Libertadores unbeaten but only secured top spot following a 3-0 defeat of Deportivo Quito in the final round of games. Their first defeat in the competition was a 3-1 reverse in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie with Banfield, which they turned around in the return at the Beira-Rio, winning 2-0 to advance on the away-goals rule.
Away goals also proved crucial to their progress in the next two rounds. After edging past defending champions Estudiantes 2-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, Inter repeated the formula against Sao Paulo in the semis, setting up a final against Chivas. Coming from behind to win 2-1 in Mexico in the first leg, the Brazilians staged another comeback in the second, running out 3-2 winners on the night to advance to UAE 2010 as worthy representatives of South American football.
The numbers game
100 - Internacional’s percentage success rate in the five major international finals they have contested during the last four years. Kicking off by winning their first Copa Libertadores in 2006, O Colorado then claimed the FIFA Club World Cup trophy later that year, following up with the 2007 Recopa Sudamericana, the 2008 Copa Sudamericana and the 2010 Libertadores. Can they maintain their impressive run of finals wins in Abu Dhabi?
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