15 years ago, Inter defeated Barcelona and became world champion
An unexpected hero. A goal that changed the course of history. The scream of a world champion reverberates around the world. Inter and Barcelona played for the Club World Cup fifteen years ago on the Yokohama International Stadium, which also hosted the Brazilian national team’s fifth title in 2002. The events of those 90 minutes are still fresh in the minds of Colorado locals.
As we honor the anniversary of this achievement, let us remember Internacional’s path to the victory against Barcelona and how Adriano Gabiru immortalized shirt 16 in the club’s most crucial move in history. Check it out!
Inter conquers Libertadores over São Paulo
Inter qualified for the Club World Cup by winning the Copa Libertadores 2006, the club’s most important championship. The team went on to upset Nacional (URU), LDU Quito (EQU), and Libertad (PAR) before meeting Sao Paulo in the final.
The team from Sao Paulo was in the midst of one of its most successful spells in its history, having won the competition in 2005 and the world championship three times over Liverpool. In other words, Abel Braga’s team faced a difficult contest and a significant task.
At the time, the decider as between two games. Rafael Sóbis scored twice in a 2-1 victory at Morumbi, the Sao Paulo tricolor’s home ground. The 2-2 draw in Beira-Rio, which featured goals by Fernando and Tinga, was enough to explode the Colorado crowd of over 57 thousand people on the way back.
Inter’s strange thing is that they had some huge setbacks after winning the Libertadores. Rafael Sóbis and Tinga, the finals’ goal scorers, were in talks with international teams. Jorge Wagner was another name who left the team that arrived with the club world culb, in Japan.
The teams for the decision of the Worlds
In the encounter versus Internacional, Barcelona were much favored. The Spanish team had just won the Champions League after a thrilling comeback victory over Arsenal. Xavi, Iniesta, Deco, and Payroll were among the team’s standout names, as are historical idols like Xavi, Iniesta, Deco, and Puyol. Nothing appeared to be able to keep Barca from succeeding.
Internacional, on the other side, were on the lookout for a new title and boasted some prominent players such as Fernando, Alex, and goalkeeper Clemer. Alexandre Pato, nicknamed “the next ace of the Brazilian squad” by many, made his first steps in football as an attacker.
Before competing in the final, the two teams had to get through the semifinals in Japan. Barcelona reasserted their dominance with a 4-0 victory against América-MEX. In a difficult contest, Internacional defeated Al-Ahly 2-1. The goals were scored by Alexandre Pato and Luiz Adriano.
As a result, the following teams were selected to compete in the decider:
- International: Clemer; Ceará, Indio, Fabiano Eller and Rubens Cardoso; Edinho, Wellington Monteiro and Alex; Alexandre Pato, Iarley and Fernandão. Technician: Abel Braga. Entered: Vargas, Adriano Gabiru and Luiz Adriano.
- Barcelona: Valdés; Zambrotta, Puyol, Rafa Márquez and Van Bronckhorst; Thiago Motta, Iniesta, Deco and Giuly; Ronaldinho Gaucho and Gudjohnsen. Technician: Rijkaard. Entered: Belletti, Xavi and Ezquerro.
How was the Colorado victory in Japan
Despite their advantage, Barcelona were unable to impose their game. There were few easy goal chances, and the Spanish team appeared to be lacking in creativity. Van Bronckhorst, the full-back, came the closest to scoring with a shot. Clemer palmed Ronaldinho Gaucho’s feet, but the Brazilian ace managed to finish the game.
In reality, the number 10’s feet provided the Catalan team with its greatest chances in the contest. In the first half, he took a free kick at goal, but Clemer stopped it without a rebound.
Internacional were not scared by Abel Braga’s team, but they did have qualities in terms of tactical positioning and putting a lot of pressure on the opponent’s ball possession.
A similar scene unfolded in the second half. Abel was replaced by Vargas in place of Alex, and Rijkaard by Belletti, who had scored the game-winning goal in the Champions League final. Even the introduction of Xavi Hernández in the 15th minute did not help Barcelona dominate the game. Inter were successful in neutralizing the opposition’s star player.
Iarley had the first shot on target in Valdés’ goal, a weak strike, while Xavi had a chance in the goal area and hit the target, but Clemer stopped it. Inter and Barcelona were tied in regular time at the time of the match in Yokohama, but fate had other intentions.
Adriano Gabiru joined Internacional in the 2006 season, and he was welcomed with a lot of backlash from the fans. He had prevously played for Cruzeiro and Athletico, but had been booed in a number of games. Only coach Abel Braga was added to the reserve bench in the 2016 Club World Cup squad list, which was a question.
As luck would have it, Adriano scored the most important goal in Colorado history. Iarley launched a counterattack in the 36th minute after replacing the idol and captain Fernando on the pitch in minute 31.
The world title idols
Adriano Gabiru made history by scoring the world champion Internacional’s 16th goal. But he wasn’t the only one who will live on in the hearts of Colorado supporters. Fernando is without a doubt the most important. He was captain and was in charge of raising the cup, and he stayed with the club until 2008.
The former attacker, who was also from Goiás, died in a helicopter accident in 2014. His tragic death made him a legend, and he now has a statue in Beira-Rio.
Iarley, who scored the winning goal and received the Silver Ball at the World Cup, was also a key figure in the triumph. The player stayed with the squad for a few more years and went on to play for other big clubs, but his career was defined by his vital role in key international titles.
Goalkeeper Clemer and defender Indio deserve special mention on the defensive side. In the final, the last of them received an inadvertent elbow from his teammate Edinho and a bleeding nose, but he stayed on the field until the end.
With the titles of the Recopa Sudamericana (2007) and Copa Sudamericana (2009), Colorado became the “Champion of Everything” a few years later (2008). In 2010, the gauchos would win the Libertadores for the second time, this time under the leadership of Celso Roth.