The silent threat to Boca Juniors in Brazil: the details of the synthetic grass that made Palmeiras almost unbeatable at home

The particular grass of the Palmeiras stadium

After the goalless draw in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-final between Boca Juniors and Palmeirasa declaration of Sergio Romero generated surprise ahead of the rematch in San Pablo. “I am concerned that it is synthetic, that it is not natural grass. It is a bit strange that at this point in life we ​​are talking about a soccer team having a synthetic field. The truth is that Conmebol or FIFA should say “either hybrid or natural grass”, because this is football. For synthetic grass there is hockey”.

Chiquito’s comment opened the debate on the particular playing field that the Allianz Parkthe new stadium of the Brazilian team that was built in 2014 on the bases of the remembered Palestra Italia that is located in the Antártica Park, the same place where Carlos Bianchi’s Boca beat the True in the semis of the 2001 Libertadores after equaling 2-2 in regular time and winning on penalties with a brilliant performance by Oscar Córdoba, who contained two shots.

Although the brand new venue is about to turn a decade old, the installation of the synthetic material only took place at the beginning of 2020 by the local company Soccer Grass. On its official site, it is noted that the surface is the “only grass that does not use sand” and, in its characteristics, it highlights that “the soil is carefully prepared in stages that involve compaction in layers, classified crushing and sizing of the water collection system, where everything is designed according to the size of the field and the particularities of the place.”

As highlighted in the images of a channel report TV Palmeiras NET, you can see how the synthetic playing field was assembled, which has a grain with a fiber that is manufactured in Italy. For its part, the rolls used in the installation come from the Netherlands. Fairly, The filling system is made with a unique rubber called TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) with a cylindrical diameter of 5 millimeters..

Several postcards of the surface that Palmeiras has in its stadium
Several postcards of the surface that Palmeiras has in its stadium

As highlighted in Brazil, the most significant changes in this type of surface are the speed with which the ball runs and another fact to take into account is the spike. Beyond the comments that were made, such as those of Brazilian football legends, such as Zico, who highlighted that it is a favorable scenario for Palmeiras, it is worth mentioning that it is approved by the governing body of football in the world. As with natural grass, It is watered in the lead-up and at halftime. -It has drainage in the soil like conventional fields.

We already have 3 FIFA approvals. Being a multipurpose stadium, the field is in perfect condition. We had no injuries to the players on the field, we receive praise from the athletes and also from the fans. We thank Allianz Parque and Palmeiras for their trust,” highlighted Alessandro Oliveira, CEO of Soccer Grass, the company responsible for the installation of the synthetic grass.

An aspect worth highlighting from the manufacturer is that, since synthetic grass was introduced in the stadium (February 2020), there has been no record of footballers, neither from Palmeiras nor from any rival, who have been injured on the grass. Every year, FIFA agents come to San Pablo to review the conditions of the field..

Beyond the technical issues, the results accompanied the team led by Abel Ferreira, who landed in October 2020 and was always in favor of the surface. In addition to the tournaments he plays in Brazil, his international record is very positive: They played 23 home games in which they achieved 15 wins, five draws and two losses. for more than 65% victories.

On January 12, 2021, Palmeiras lost one of its two international matches with the new surface: it was 2-0 to River de Gallardo (REUTERS/Nelson Almeida)
On January 12, 2021, Palmeiras lost one of its two international matches with the new surface: it was 2-0 to River de Gallardo (REUTERS/Nelson Almeida)

The positive fact that the Xeneize team led by Almirón can cling to is that the falls were against Argentine teams. For the semifinals of the Libertadores 2000 – it was played in January 2021 – and after winning as a visitor in the first leg 3-0 (the duel was played on the Independiente field), Marcelo Gallardo’s River triumphed 2-0 at the Allianz Parque to be one goal away from equaling the series that took Verdao to the final of the continental competition.

For its part, Defensa y Justicia was the other team that defeated Palmeiras in the group stage of the 2021 edition in a spectacular 4-3. It is important to remember that against the same rival and for the South American Cup Winners’ Cup, the Argentine-Brazilian second leg duel was played at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia, due to the wave of coronavirus that São Paulo was suffering from and which caused the venue to be moved.

Oliveira, in charge of the stadium grass by the manufacturer, spoke before the duel between Palmeiras and Xeneize and explained the salient detail of the surface. “It is faster because there are no unevenness, that is the maximum difference that Boca will find when they play here”. In addition, he left a reference for the players who are starters to take into account when taking care of their physique. “With playing time, fatigue sets in because you run more. “It has the same height as natural grass,” he said in conversation with ESPN.

In another order, the fans promise to organize a celebration outside and inside the stadium. Beyond the traditional corridor, the crooked Mancha Alviverde is expected to create a surprise mosaic that covers the entire stadium in the preview. “Banners and flags will also be part of the organized party, and unfortunately due to problems with the supplier it will not be possible to distribute 40 thousand flags,” the newspaper indicated. Throw about the preparations.

The organizers estimated that this Thursday could be “the greatest runner in history” and they asked all the fans to position themselves along the entire route from the Verdao training center to one of the Allianz Parque entrances. After five years, Boca will return to an area of ​​Brazil that brings back great memories. And, as happened in 2001 and 2018, the objective for the Xeneizes will be to reach the definition of the Libertadores.

Palmeiras will have the support of its public at the Allianz Parque (REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli)
Palmeiras will have the support of its public at the Allianz Parque (REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli)

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