Flowers and messages are seen next a Chapecoense soccer team flag in tribute to their players in front of the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, Nov. 29, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
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For a few glorious days, tiny Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense was the side of the moment, the latest in a string of sporting surprises in 2016 .Like Leicester City winning the Premier League for the first time or the Chicago Cubs finally taking baseball's World Series after a 108-year wait, Chapecoense bucked the odds and delighted the romantics.The rise of a team known as the Western Big Green had taken decades.The team was more than the sum of its parts and victories over Argentine giants Independiente and Pope Francis' favorite team, San Lorenzo, were among its greatest ever.Chapecoense was a rank outsider going into this week's finale against Atletico Nacional, South America's team of the moment.
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