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Flumineses Plummet : From Continental Glory to Domestic Despair

 Last year’s Libertadores champions are now fighting for survival. A deep dive into the team’s dramatic downturn and their latest 2-0 defeat to Cruzeiro.
Millerjmatos, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Millerjmatos, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, June 19, Fluminense lost its sixth game in the Brazilian league, a loss that put them in last place in the standings. 

The defeat away from home to Cruzeiro, by 2-0, was enough to send Fluminense to the bottom of the league table, which seemed very unlikely to happen at the start of the season. 

The reason that no one expected Fluminense to be fighting against relegation is that the team based in Rio de Janeiro is the current title holder for the Libertadores, which is the most prestigious club competition in South America.

 The fact that the current “kings of South America” are at the bottom of the Brazilian league showcases not only just how competitive the Brazilian league is, but also how poor of a job coach Fernando Diniz has been doing this year so far.

Fernando Diniz is regarded as one of Brazil’s best coaches and his revolutionary style of play is praised all over the world. It was with his dynamic and technical management that Fluminense was able to achieve glory last year and win their first-ever Libertadores. 

However, 2024 and 2023 are two different years, and so far Fluminense’s 2023 has been very different than last year. 

Being able to only secure 6 points out of a possible 30, many fans and pundits have been saying that maybe Fernando Diniz’s time at Fluminense is up, while others still believe in the process. 

Regardless of what Fluminense decides to do, they must do it fast, because the matches will keep coming and if they aren’t able to react soon, the situation will only get worse.

Yesterday’s disappointment came at the hands of Cruzeiro. 

Cruzeiro is a team based in Belo Horizonte, they are a very traditional team in Brazil and although they’ve had a few rough seasons these past few years, they are slowly coming back to their glory days.

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 The “cabuloso” as Cruzeiro is known, took the field against Fluminense with a 4-3-2-1 formation. Led by coach Fernando Seabra, Cruzeiro took the field in their traditional blue uniform. 

Playing at their home stadium, the Mineirão, the cabuloso started the game with Anderson in goal, with Marlon, João Marcelo, Zé Ivaldo, and William making up the defensive line. The middle of the field for Cruzeiro was occupied by Lucas Silva, Filipe Machado, and Ramiro. In front of them, there was Robert on the right, Veron on the left, and Cruzeiro’s star player, Matheus Pereira in the middle wearing the glorious number 10 jersey.

Fluminense took the field poised to present a dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation with veteran goalkeeper Fabio in goal. 

Fluminense FC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In front of the keeper, you would find Thiago Santos and Antônio Carlos as centerbacks and Marquinhos and Diego Barbosa on the defensive flanks. Making up the midfield for the “tricolor carioca” were Martinelli and Lima as CDMs, and in front of them were John Kennedy, Renato Augusto, and former Barcelona and Bayern Munich star Douglas Costa. Leading the attack for Fluminense was the deadly Germán Cano.

The game was an overall competitive match with both teams respecting each other but also trying to make something happen. And something did happen at 38 minutes when after a VAR review, Cruzeiro was awarded a penalty after a handball by Martinelli. 

The penalty was taken by birthday boy William, who put in a power shot in the bottom right corner. Fabio even managed to touch it, but it wasn’t enough to stop it from going in. 

With this, Cruzeiro opened the scoring and made it 1-0. As the game went on, both teams kept trying to make something happen. Fluminense even attempted many times but all opportunities by the tricolor were denied by Anderson.

The second goal, also scored by William, came in the dying embers of the game. At the 93-minute mark, the right back took off on a dribbling streak and ran with the ball from one end to the other, even nutmegging Martinelli, and finished off the play with a rocket into the upper left corner of Fabio’s goal, leaving the Fluminense keeper with no choice but to get the ball from the back of his net

. This defeat marked a rock-bottom moment for Fluminense, as it not only pushed the team to the last spot of the standings for the Brazilian league, but it will also greatly heightened the pressure on the team for the upcoming matches.

To make matters worse, or better, Fluminense’s next game is against rivals Flamengo. 

The game, which is often referred to as the Fla-Flu Derby in Brazil, will truly be a make-or-break moment for Diniz. If Fluminense are able to secure a win against Flamengo it will clearly be a turning point and will show that he still has more in him. However, if Fluminense lose against Flamengo, it might just be the last straw and it could potentially cost Diniz his job. 

With all this said, the game between Flamengo and Fluminense is set to be a tense derby, with Flamengo fighting to get the top spot and Fluminense fighting to leave the bottom one. 

The game will take place on June 23, at the historic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, and everything is pointing toward it being one of the most exciting games of the year.

Arne Müseler / www.arne-mueseler.com, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons (arne-mueseler.com)

What will happen? Will Fluminense manage to turn the tide and upset Flamengo in the Fla-Flu derby? Or will Flamengo show superiority and potentially cause Fernando Diniz to be sacked? The answer to all these questions and more will be answered soon, and the only thing we know for sure is that we are in for a showdown, and as the Brazilian league has been proving to be, almost every game is a showdown.

To learn more about the Brazilian league, click here to read more articles about the Brazilian league and follow The Roadrunner on Instagram (@theroadrunnernewspaper) to keep up with all our extensive coverage of the wildest league in the world.

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
Nathan Azevedo Espindula, Editor and Chief
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