Here's Why You Can't Miss The Copa Libertadores Semifinals
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While we all wonder what’s going on with Real Madrid not scoring, or Barcelona struggling to win or who will take the lead among Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, South America is heating up to unknown levels as the Copa Libertadores semifinals are approaching.
Gremio and Palmeiras from Brazil and Boca Juniors and River Plate from Argentina have reached this decisive stage, and to make it even more exciting we have two Argentina-Brazil duels coming up, as one side of the draw has River Plate vs. Gremio playing the first leg on October 23 and the other Boca Juniors vs. Palmeiras on October 24.
Do you understand what this means?
It is not only the Brazil-Argentina rivalry, powered by a history of Boca Juniors vs. Palmeiras defining games during the first years of the century (Boca J. beat Palmeiras on penalty kicks at the Morumbi Stadium in the final of the 2000 edition of the cup, and then eliminated the Brazilians again on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the 2001 edition, in years in which winning in Brazil was considered an almost impossible mission), but also that this draw could potentially lead to a Boca Juniors vs. River Plate Copa Libertadores final, the ultimate climax of Argentinian football.
Boca Juniors and River Plate have one of the most glowing rivalries in the planet (if not the most). This is not a Barcelona vs. Real Madrid; these people are crazy — the whole country stays on hold when they play each other and massive police operations are conducted to (try) to avoid social conflicts that unfortunately happen.
Picture it like this, the British newspaper The Sun described the superclasico when played at La Bombonera as the most intense sports experience in the planet.
Boca Juniors leads in the all-time series against his former neighbor, but River Plate has been performing better than Boca Juniors in international cups in the last couple of years and in fact enjoyed kicking them out in Round of 16 of the 2015 edition of the cup, to later on win the trophy.
On the other hand, Gremio and Palmeiras are far from underdogs. Gremio has won the cup three times and Palmeiras lifted the trophy once in 1999 but managed to reach the final three other times. The Brazilian stadiums, in international competitions, are seriously intimidating.
Therefore, there are no Davids in this Copa Libertadores edition; all four of them are Goliaths. Boca Juniors has won the cup six times (just one below Independiente’s record of seven trophies, the continental leader), River Plate and Gremio three times and Palmeiras once.
The air is getting thinner in South America and the heat and the pressure are going up. Trust me, if you want to see some soccer battles and unreal passion in the Copa Libertadores semifinals. It doesn’t get much better than this.