Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Pace, pressing and pig emojis: Palmeiras setting the pace in Série A thanks to Cuca's modern methods

It was the morning after World Emoji Day, so the headline was rather more oblique than usual.

Beneath a photo of a jubilant Erik, sports daily Lance! had printed a number of symbols that told the story of Sunday's Internacional vs Palmeiras match. Some – a Brazilian flag, a thumbs-up, a smiley face – did not require Columbo-level acts of decryption: even those not versed in the local football scene would have been able to work out that the away side had picked up a useful victory.

It was the remaining pictures that really spelt out the significance of the result, however. There was the number 32, representing Palmeiras' points tally after 15 games of the Brasileirão season. That is three more than anyone else in the division; they have now been at the summit at the end of the last seven rounds. Early days these may be, but the trophy emoji could be getting a few more outings in these circles over the next few months.

Then there was the number 19 with a cross through it, which – investigative journalism alert – isn't actually an existing emoji. But we should probably allow some artistic licence here to mark the end of one of Brazilian football's most dogged hoodoos: this was the first time the São Paulo giants had beaten Inter at the Beira-Rio since 1997. No wonder the little pig emoji (an allusion to a once-pejorative nickname that Palmeiras fans have made their own) looked especially pleased with itself.

The rest of this article, about Palmeiras and their excellent campaign so far, is on the WhoScored blog. Have a read here.