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Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a football (soccer) club from Brazil.

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About Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Futebol Clube, or simply Santa Cruz is a Brazilian Association football club in Recife, Pernambuco.


Early history

On February 3, 1914, eleven young men aging from 14 to 16 years founded a football society. Because the boys used to play football on the streets by the yard of the Santa Cruz Church, the club was named after that church, which is situated on Santa Cruz Street in Recife.

The first official meeting of the members was at 2 Mangueira St. At this meeting they decided the position of each member, the name of the club "Santa Cruz Foot-Ball Club", and the society's colors.

The original colors were black and white. Some time after, the color pattern was changed because another local team (Sport Club Flamengo) already had those colors. Therefore the club included the red color by suggestion of Teófilo Batista de Carvalho, also known as Lacraia. Lacraia has participated in all major early events of Santa Cruz's history, except the foundation.

The first ball was bought with the financial support of José Luiz Vieira and cost 8,500 réis.

Many people came to see the first match at Derby plains. The "team of boys" as Santa Cruz was called at the time beat Rio Negro (Black River) by 7-0. Rio Negro demanded revenge in another match. Curiously, the terms of the revenge stated that Sílvio Machado (he scored five goals in the first match) could not play. Despite that, Santa Cruz accepted the challenge. Carlindo, who substituted Sílvio Machado, scored six goals and Santa Cruz won again by 9-0. A subsequent victory over the Western Telegraph Company team, very famous at the time, made the popularity of Santa Cruz increase even more.

The club was almost closed in its very first year. Some members proposed to use the club funds to buy a sugarcane juice extractor. Alexandre Carvalho (see members above) violently disapproved of such an offensive proposal and saved the club. "Santa Cruz was born to live forever", he would have said.

In early 20th century Recife, football was regarded as an elite sport. It was played mostly by upper class boys and by the workers of English companies that operated in Recife. At that time racism was common and Afro-Brazilians were not allowed to play football. Santa Cruz, however, was the first team in Pernambuco to accept them. Lacraia, was the first one. This fact contributed to the popularity of the team, as black people are numerous in Demographics of Brazil.

In 1915, there was the greatest comeback ever seen in a football match in Brazil. At the Estádio dos Aflitos stadium, Santa Cruz was trailing by a 5 - 1 score against América Futebol Clube do Recife (Pernambuco), however it scored six goals in the final 15 minutes.

In 1917, the club was accepted into the Pernambucan Sport League, the old name of the Federação Pernambucana de Futebol.

On January 30, 1919, Santa Cruz beat Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas team of Rio de Janeiro on the Malaquias field by 3-2. Alberto Santos-Dumont, the fixed-wing aircraft pioneer, was in Recife, but was unnoticed: Santa Cruz's victory took everyone's attention. On January 31, the Jornal Pequeno (Small Newspaper) printed in the headlines: "Botafogo Futebol Clube is beaten by the home boys by 3-2." It was the first time that a northern-northeastern team beat a team from the south-eastern region of Brazil.

On December 13, 1931, beating Torre by 2-0, Santa Cruz won its first state championship. Tará and Sherlock were the most important players.

On October 10, 1934, the Brazil national football team, which had just arrived home from the 1934 Football World Cup in Italy, played some friendly matches against the major teams of Pernambuco. Sport Club do Recife was defeated 4-2; Clube Náutico Capibaribe was beaten 8-3. Santa Cruz also was defeated 3-1. Because of a ship delay, the Brazilian team could not continue its trip back to Rio de Janeiro. So Santa Cruz asked for a return match. This time, Santa Cruz won by 3-2.

1960s and 70s

During the late 1960s and the 1970s, Santa Cruz achieved great popularity.
Much of that was due to the State Penta-championship that Santa Cruz conquered.
Moreover, since Santa Cruz showed impressive performances in the National championship, the importance of the club was finally recognized beyond the state of Pernambuco.

The participation of Santa Cruz in the National competition started to get some credibility in 1965. After beating Clube de Regatas do Flamengo by 3 x 1 in Estádio do Maracanã stadium, Santa Cruz started to get famous. The club obtained first place in the National Championship's first stage.

In 1972, Pelé played his 1000th match against Santa Cruz.

In 1975, Santa Cruz reached the semifinals of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, a first for a northeastern team. The decisive semi-final match was against Cruzeiro Esporte Clube on December 7. In a controversial match, Cruzeiro won by 3 x 2. The final position was a fourth place (best performance in the National Championship).

In 1978 and 1979, Santa Cruz were unbeaten for 48 games in a row in the Brazilian Championship. That was the fourth greatest unbeaten run in the national competition ever. In the same year, Santa Cruz was the first team to qualify for the 2nd Stage of the National Championship, achieving 20 points. By the end of the competition, Santa Cruz was in fifth place.

Santa Cruz had the top scorer of the Campeonato Pernambucano 25 times up to 2011.

1980s to present

During the 1980s, Santa Cruz was demoted to the Campeonato Brasileiro Série B of the National Championship twice, in 1982 and 1989. Since then the club's performance in national competitions has declined.

In the early 1990s, Santa Cruz won three state championships: 1990, 1993, and 1995. However being in the second division of the National Championshiop often eclipsed such achievements.

Moreover, in the following years, Santa Cruz had to share the status of champion 5 times in a row with an arch-rival. Santa Cruz was not able to stop Sport Club do Recife winning their 5th successive championship.

Nevertheless, in 1996, Maurício was the top scorer of the 2nd Division Brazilian Championship with 13 goals.

Since the final match in Campeonato Pernambucano 2006 vs. Sport, with which Sport won the championship, the team has experienced a new decline. It was demoted to Campeonato Brasileiro Série B in 2006 and then to the Campeonato Brasileiro Série C in 2007 after a weak campaign. That latest decline also included elimination from Copa do Brasil 2007 and 2008 by weaker teams at the first round and the downfall into Hexagonal da Morte, the bottom six, in Campeonato Pernambucano 2008, escaping relegation in the seventh match.

Continuing the fall, in September 2008, after another weak campaign, this time in the Third Division, Santa Cruz was relegated to the Campeonato Brasileiro Série D becoming the first club to fall from First Division to Fourth in three years.

But, in 2011, Santa Cruz started a reaction. The club was eliminated from Copa do Brasil by São Paulo FC. Santa Cruz won the first game 1-0, but lost in the second game 2-0. On May 15, Santa Cruz won the Campeonato Pernambucano. The final was 2-0 against Sport Club do Recife, and the Estádio do Arruda had the highest attendance in 2011 in Brazilian football, beating teams like Flamengo, from Rio de Janeiro, and Corinthians, from São Paulo.



The original colors of the club were black and white. However, at that time, the Pernambucan Sport League did not allow the participation of different clubs with the same colors. Thus, the red color was introduced to differentiate from the color pattern of Flamengo of Arcoverde.

Santa Cruz is also known as O Tricolor (The Tricolor) and its fans
as Tricolores.


The original badge(not depicted here) was designed by Teófilo Batista de Carvalho aka Lacraia.
The inclusion of red colour in the club patterns is also due to Lacraia.

As time passed, the badge design was modified and updated. However the Lacraia 's original concept was not much modified.

The current badge contains several Star (football badge). The top three-colored stars represent the three Super-championships that Santa Cruz won. The bottom golden stars represent the Penta-championship.


With the adoption of three colors, the striped jersey of Santa Cruz resembled a Coral snake. The fans do not hesitate to call the team simply by Coral.


The official anthem of the club is widely unknown by the fans. However, a march named O Mais Querido (The Dearest One) by Lourenço da Fonseca Barbosa (Capiba) is very popular and is the de facto anthem.


The team's stadium is in Estádio do Arruda, a borough of Recife. The official name of the stadium is Estádio José do Rego Maciel, after the name of a former mayor of Recife. However, it is widely known as Estádio do Arruda (Arruda Stadium). The fans call it Arrudão (Big Arruda) or Mundão do Arruda (Great Land of Arruda).

On April 1, 1982 the stadium was re-inaugurated after improvements and enlargement. From the original capacity of 64,000 people, the maximum capacity was then estimated at 110,000. However, due to safety reasons, the maximum audience so far is 90,200 in a Brazil vs Argentina match on March 23, 1994. Since then the official stadium capacity has been reduced to 60,044.

The stadium is also known as the Repúblicas Independentes do Arruda (Independent Republics of Arruda).


- Campeonato Pernambucano (Pernambuco State Championship): 25

- Campeonato Pernambucano Copa Pernambuco: 3

- Supercampeonato Pernambucano (Pernambuco Superchampionship): 3

- Torneio Início de Pernambuco (Pernambuco Start Tournament): 12

The Super-Championship

The Campeonato Pernambucano is usually divided into three turns. Each turn is a small championship itself. If a team wins all the three turns then it is automatically declared as champion. If a team wins two turns and another team wins the remaining turn, the championship has a final playoff. Generally, the playoff consists of two matches or three matches. However, if three different teams win each one a turn, the championship has a playoff named Super-championship. The Super-championship consists of a playoff among the three winners of each turn. Super-championships are rare and very prestigious.

The Blue Ribbon.
The Blue Ribbon is a prestigious award given by the Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol - CBF).
Teams that go abroad on tour without being defeated are natural candidates for this recognition.

In the Middle East, Santa Cruz played against the national teams of
- Kuwait national football team (1-5 and 1-1)
- Bahrain national football team (0-3)
- Qatar national football team (0-4 and 1-4)
- Dubai (one of the United Arab Emirates) (1-2)
- Abu Dhabi (one of the United Arab Emirates) (0-3)

Santa Cruz also matched
- Al-Aim (0-3)
- Nasser Sport Club (2-6)
- Alhilal of Saudi Arabia (0-3)

In Europe there were two matches. The first one was against Romania national football team (2-4), and the last game against Paris Saint-Germain FC (2-2).


Pernambucans (people of the state of Pernambuco) take football passionately.

Santa Cruz has two major rivals within the state:

- Sport Club do Recife
- Clube Náutico Capibaribe

The rivalry between Santa Cruz and Sport Recife is known as Clássico das Multidões, and the rivalry between Santa Cruz and Náutico is known as Clássico das Emoções.

Out on loan

Great players

The first football idol was Zé Bonfim.

Tará was topscorer of the Pernambucan Football Championship twice (25 goals in 1938 and 20 goals in 1940).

Givanildo, Fumanchu, Levir Culpi, Nunes (footballer), Carlos Alberto, and Ramón were heroes in the 1970s. In the 1973 Brazilian Championship, Ramón was the topscorer with 21 goals.

Birigui was one of Santa Cruz's greatest idols ever. For more than 10 years, he was the main goalkeeper of Santa Cruz. He is one of the 1986-87 State Bi-champions. Much of the success of the team in those campaigns can be credited to Birigui's remarkable performance.

Zé do Carmo had an important role in the 1980s and early 1990s.

In 1989, Rivaldo started his professional career in junior divisions of Santa Cruz FC.

Ricardo Rocha, FIFA World Cup champion in 1994, began his career in Santa Cruz. He also was coach of Santa Cruz's professional team without, however, the same success as a player.

In the late 1990s, Nílson (goalkeeper) achieved great popularity. The fans used to call him Paredão (Great Wall).


- James Thorp
- Aristófanes de Andrade
- José Inojosa
- Jonas Alvarenga

Notable coaches

- Sérgio China
- Zé Teodoro

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