The grenal is the nickname for matches between two of Brazil's leading football clubs. They are both located in the southern city of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state. Gre refers to Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense and Nal refers to Sport Club Internacional.
The grenal is one of the fiercest football rivalries in South America. It is accompanied by high levels of emotion, competition and occasional violence. Many well-known players have competed in grenal games, including: Everaldo, Tesourinha, Aírton, Falcão, Éder, Valdomiro, Renato Gaúcho, Taffarel, Dunga, Emerson, Ronaldinho, Elías Figueroa, Nilmar, Oscar and Diego Forlán.
The game has also seen world-famous coaches such as Luiz Felipe Scolari, Abel Braga, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Telê Santana, Rubens Minelli, Valdir Espinosa, Paulo César Carpegiani and Ênio Andrade manage a game.
First Grenal derby
On June 21, 1909, four representatives of Internacional met with representatives of Grêmio in the Company's headquarters, Leopoldina Portoalegrense, to arrange the first meeting between the two clubs. Internacional, founded two months before, invited Grêmio to be its first opponents. The first match was held on June 27. With a game with Fuss-Ball previously arranged, the Grêmio President, Major Augusto Koch said that his team would face Internacional with the second table (reserve team). The leaders of Internacional demanded that their opponents field their first team. The Grêmio board agreed. However, as the club's fixture list was full, the game would be held only in the following month.
The first Grenal derby occurred on July 18, 1909, on a Sunday, in the Baixada|Baixada from Porto Alegre (which belonged to Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense. At 15:10, both teams entered the field of Baixada, preceded by the Presidents and the military band of the Brigade. The Grêmio players wore Sorority shirts divided vertically in half blue and half white, with black shorts. Internacional wore vertically striped shirts in red and white, with white shorts. The audience was estimated at 2000.
The referee of the match was Waldemar Bromberg, line judges João de Castro e Silva and H. Sommer, and goal judges Theobaldo Foernges Bugs and Theodoro. The goal judges sat on a stool beside the goal areas, indicating whether the ball entered the goal or not, because at the time there were no nets in the goals.
After 10 minutes, Edgar Booth scored the first goal of the game and in the history of the classic. Edgar Booth went on to score four more goals. Four goals scored by Júlio Grünewald and one by Moreira made the score Grêmio 10-0 Internacional, the biggest win in the history of Grenal.
Grenal of the Century
This match took place at Beira-Rio Stadium in February 12th 1989, being the 297th confront between these rival clubs, and it is called "Grenal of the Century" due its unprecedented importance: it was the second leg of the semi-finals of 1988 Brazilian Championship, soon after the first leg, played at Olímpico Stadium had ended with no goals.
Both teams came from great campaigns in the league. Internacional had a slight advantage, for if the match ended in a draw, Inter would qualify for the finals and Libertadores Cup. Teasers and agitation ruled in Porto Alegre.
The attendance was 78.083, in spite of the scorching heat of the summer afternoon: the thermometers marked 40ºC (104ºF).
Grêmio started the match playing better and, at the end of the first half, was winning the match by 1-0 with goal scored by Marcus Vinicius at 25'. With the red card showed to Inter's right back Casemiro at 38' by referee Arnaldo Cézar Coelho, Grêmio's victory seemed very close.
Inter got better at the second half. At 61' a free kick favored Inter. Middle-fielder Edu Lima crossed the ball and Nílson, top scorer of the league, scored to make the match even.
It was Inter who kept pressing, and minutes after, in a counter-attack from the right side, middle-fielder Maurício passed through two defenders and shot. The ball was going the miss the goal when Nílson appeared behind the back of Grêmio's defense, to score again.
Internacional won the "Grenal of the Century" and qualified to the final match against Esporte Clube Bahia.
The rivalry of the Grenal reaches beyond football; it is a cultural reference for the Gaúchos. Many residents of Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and in much of Santa Catarina and the western region of Paraná, identify strongly with one of the two sides, according to entrenched familial, cultural and social-demographic factors.
Gremio has 52% of the fans in the state,The Internacional support is 35% of the state population.
Grêmio was founded in 1903 by German immigrants from the Porto Alegre's industrious and commercial upper middle-class, mainly from the northern neighbourhoods from the city, who initially banned poor non-German players. Inter was founded in a meeting at the Second District, a bohemian, commercial and college neighborhood, so mostly of the first Inter players and supporters came from this reality: students from inner Rio Grande do Sul, Italian and azorean immigrants and blacks that lived on the place. Because of that, Inter was the first of the two clubs to allow black and mixed-raced players. Since the 1950s, several black players such as Ronaldinho and Everaldo have played for Grêmio.
|Number of games||402|
|Number of goals||1103|
|Scored for Grêmio||529|
|Scored for Inter||574|
Inter's Under-20 team is also remarkably successful: Nike Cup (Under-15 World Championship) champions in 2000, Four-times Brazilian Under-20 champions at São Paulo Cup, in 1974, 1978, 1980 and 1998 and champion of the first Campeonato Brasileiro (Brazilian Championship) Sub-20 in 2006.
The biggest win for Grêmio was 10-0 in 1909 (the very first Grenal) and the biggest win for Inter was 7-0 in 1948.
Best attendance in Beira-Rio Stadium (Internacional): Internacional 1-1 Grêmio, 85,075, May 30, 1971.
In Olímpico Stadium (Grêmio): Grêmio 1-1 Internacional, 72,893, November 29, 1981.
- "Grêmio x Internacional - Resultados" (in Portuguese). Clássico É Clássico. Retrieved 2008-10-21.