Buenos Aires, July 16 (IANS) The Copa Libertadores de America, the most important club football tournament in Latin America, will not have finalists from either Argentina or Brazil for the first time in 25 years.
The final of the continental tournament will be played between Colombia’s Atletico Nacional de Medellin and Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle, reports Xinhua.
The last time there was a final without an Argentine or Brazilian team was in 1991 when Chile’s Colo Colo came away with their country’s only title in the competition after beating Paraguay’s Olimpia.
Coincidentally, that edition had two of the same semi-finalists as this year’s competition. Back then, the Argentine club Boca Juniors were defeated by the Chilean side while the Paraguayan team eliminated Atletico Nacional.
From that year on, each final has been played with at least one team from Argentina or Brazil.
The Argentine club Boca Juniors played and won the most titles during this period as they qualified for six finals and won four of those times – 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2007.
Another one of 2016’s semi-finalists, Brazil’s Sao Paulo, were also an important part in the past 25 years of the competition as they won three titles (1992, 1993 and 2005) out of four finals.
Brazil’s Internacional de Porto Alegre is also included in the list of teams that have won the Copa Libertadores more than once since 1991. The team won the title both times they reached the final in 2006 and 2010.
In the Cup’s 56 editions since 1960, Argentina is the country that has won the most titles (24) and played in the most finals (33).
Brazil follows with 17 wins and 32 finals played. Uruguayan teams have won eight titles (five for Penarol and three for Nacional) out of the 16 finals they have played.
Bolivia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela have never won a Libertadores title even though three Mexican teams (Cruz Azul, Chivas and Tigres) and two Peruvian teams (Universitario and Sporting Cristal) have made it to the final.
In the current Cup, Ecuador’s surprising Independiente – the only team to eliminate both Argentina’s River Plate and Boca Juniors in the same edition – will face Colombia’s Atletico Nacional.
Both teams are seeking the long-awaited title, which will also allow the winning team to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup from December 8 to 18 in Japan.