Gre-nal... the most Argentinian clash in Brazil
Down there in the South, thereÃ¢ÂÂs a small part of Brazil whose football was forged in the traditional Argentinian mould Ã¢ÂÂ a hard, physical game with strength over skills.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs the Rio Grande do Sul state, and it has their own Boca-River-like die-hard hate rivalry: welcome to GrÃÂªmio vs Internacional, or simply Gre-nal as the clash between the two giants of Porto Alegre city is nicknamed.
With both teams recording decent results in recent years Ã¢ÂÂ Internacional won the 2006 Copa Libertadores and the Fifa World Club Championship against Barcelona, while GrÃÂªmio lost to Boca Juniors in the final of the 2007 tournament Ã¢ÂÂ the rivalry from the pampas has become even more fierce.
This Sunday, they will face each other in the InternacionalÃ¢ÂÂs Beira-Rio Stadium in the 373th Gre-nal since 1909. And, again, thereÃ¢ÂÂs a lot at stake.
Tournament punters GrÃÂªmio are defending a lead at the top that seems to be slipping away. A couple of weeks ago, they were seven points clear; now theyÃ¢ÂÂre just one.
On the other hand, Internacional, who started the championship in poor shape, have finally woken up Ã¢ÂÂ too late to win the title, but with time to still chase a Libertadores spot. TheyÃ¢ÂÂre currently 11th, but there's just four points between themselves and 4th!
Winning and knocking their crosstown rivals off the top of the table... it doesnÃ¢ÂÂt get much better for Internacional fans.
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs why 45,000 people are expected to be at Beira-Rio, almost all of them Internacional fans, who will paint the stadium red. Visitors GrÃÂªmio received only 2,900 tickets.
I know youÃ¢ÂÂre looking forward to my usually flawless prediction. Tell your bookie then: Internacional to win 2-1. Argentinian DÃ¢ÂÂAlessandro will net the winner for the Colorado.
PS: Before our neighbours from the South get angry, of course thereÃ¢ÂÂs talent and skill there. Ronaldinho GaÃÂºcho's name is based on the word gaÃÂºcho - how the Rio Grande do Sul natives are known.To pay a tribute to him, look what the ace did in Gre-nal here, for GrÃÂªmio.
In both incidents, the humiliated opponent was... Dunga. Yep. The national team coach also hails from Rio Grande do Sul.