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Brazilian Football - Championship 2005

First Division

Corinthians was the Brazilian champion of the First Division of football in 2005.
The tournament had the participation of the following teams (by order of final classification): Corinthians (champion), Internacional (runner up), Goiás, Palmeiras, Fluminense, Atlético - PR, Paraná, Cruzeiro, Botafogo, Santos, São Paulo, Vasco da Gama, Fortaleza, Juventude, Flamengo, Figueirense, São Caetano, Ponte Preta, Coritiba, Atlético - MG, Paysandu and Brasiliense.

All teams played against each other twice (at home and away); after the 42 rounds, the team with most points would be the champion. Corinthians scored 81 points, Internacional 78 and Goiás 74 points. There was a very tiny chance of Internacional winning in the last round (Corinthians had a lead of 3 points and 5 goals of balance).
With these results, four teams were downgraded to the Second Division in 2006: Coritiba, Atlético MG, Paysandu and Brasiliense. Coritiba was Brazilian champion in 1985, but never repeated a good performance. The greatest surprise was Atlético MG, one of the most traditional teams in Brazil.

Players: the best player of the Championship was Argentinian Carlos Tevez, from Corinthians.
Elected by the media, this was the Golden Team of 2005: Fábio Costa, Gabriel, Lugano, Gamarra and Gustavo Nery; Marcelo Mattos, Tinga, Petkovic and Roger; Tevez and Rafael Sóbis. Notice that Lugano is Uruguayan, Gamarra is Paraguayan, Petkovic is Croatian and Tevez is Argentinian.
The media also elected the Silver Team: Rogério Ceni, Cicinho, Betão, André Leone and Michel Bastos; Mineiro, Rosinei, Juninho Paulista and Ricardinho; Fernandão and Róbson. Rogério Ceni and Cicinho play currently in the Brazilian team; Juninho Paulista and Ricardinho played until a few years ago.
The surprise was Romário, from Vasco, who, at age 39, scored 22 goals and became the oldest striker of the Brazilian championship (he beat himself, as in 2001, at age 35, he had also been the main striker).
The championship of 2005 will enter History because, for the first time, a case of corruption involving referees was discovered (read more here). A few people were sent to jail. The Brazilian Football Confederation ordered that 11 matches conducted by the dishonest referee should be played again. The most benefited team was Corinthians.

Some statistics: (source: Brazilian Confederation of Football)
Total matches: 462
Total goals scored: 1448; average goals per match: 3.13
Total spectators: 5,938,077; average spectators per match: 13,777
Total tickets revenue (paid by spectators): R$ 55.744.753,75; average per match: R$ 129.338,18 (the average course of the dollar in 2005 was about US$ 1 = R$ 2.40; so, there was an average collecting of about US$ 50,000 per match; this low figure helps explain why so many Brazilian players go play abroad).

Second Division

The Champion of Second Division in 2005 was Grêmio, and the runner up was Santa Cruz. Both teams will be back to the First Division in 2006.
Grêmio is one of the most traditional teams in Brazil; it was Brazilian champion in 1983 and 1996, and World Champion in 1983. Santa Cruz, from Pernambuco, is also a traditional team; in 2005, the only team from the Northeast of Brazil in the First Division was Fortaleza, from Ceará; in 2006, Santa Cruz, from Pernambuco, will also be in the First Division.

The Second Division is played in a different system than the First Division. In a first stage, all teams play against each other only once. The best eight teams dispute a play-off. Then, the four best teams play another play-off; in the end, only the champion and the vice-champion are promoted to the first division.
The four teams which reached the final play-offs were Grêmio, Portuguesa, Náutico and Santa Cruz. The tournament was decided only in the final minutes of the last round.

Notice that, just like last year, four teams are downgraded from First to Second Division, whereas only two teams are promoted from Second to the First. That means that, in 2006, the First Division will have only 20 teams.
The intention of the Brazilian Federation is two fold: to keep only the elite teams in the First Division, and at the same time turn the Second Division into a competitive tournament, capable of attracting fans to stadiums and draw attention from the media.

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