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Argentina and Brazil football rivalry

The Argentina and Brazil football rivalry is a highly competitive sports rivalry that exists between the national football teams of the two countries, as well as their respective sets of fans. Games between the two teams, even those that are only friendly matches, are often marked by notable and sometimes controversial incidents. This Rivalry is also called 'The Battle of the South Americans'.


The origins of the football rivalry between Argentina and Brazil can be traced to before football became so popular in both countries. During the colonization of the Americas, Spain and Portugal often fought each other to gain control over vast

Today few remember wars and other political confrontations between both countries, and only recall matches, victories, goals and other sport-related incidents. Their rivalry is found in almost all sports, but a men's football match between Argentina and Brazil is one that neither side wants to lose, and often acquires more importance than the championship within which it takes place. To exemplify the intensity of this rivalry, is enough to remember that after the 1946 incidents (see below), the two teams did not play against each other for ten years; either team would decline to play a given cup so that they would never have to play against the neighbouring country.

Games statistics

Since their first match in 1914, the national teams have played 88 matches counting friendlies, World Cup, and other official competitions (excluding matches between youth sides).

Even though there is a difference depending on whether the Argentine Football Association (AFA) or the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) does the counting, the near-balance is not in dispute. Of the 89 matches played between both national teams, 21 were draws, 35 were Brazilian victories and 33 for Argentina, with 142 goals for Argentina and 140 for Brazil. Only counting World Cup matches Brazil is ahead with 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, whereas in the Copa America, Argentina has 15 victories, 7 draws and 8 defeats. Of 12 friendly matches, 5 were for Brazil, 3 for Argentina and 4 were draws. Even though Argentina has led the statistics since the first match between the two countries in 1914, the 1970s proved to be dark times for Argentina, with 6 defeats, 4 draws and no victories. Biggest wins are, for Argentina 6–1 and 1–5 , for Brazil 6–2 and 1–4 .

Argentina and Brazil's most recent match took place on July 15 2007 at Estadio Jose Pachencho Romero in Maracaibo, Venezuela and was the final match of Copa America 2007 which Brazil won by the score of 3-0. The first goal was scored by Julio Baptista, while the second one was an own goal by Roberto Ayala after a pass attempt by Brazil's Daniel Alves, who also scored the last goal.

Maradona and Pele rivalry

Even though there's a number of players that people postulate as the best player of all time, Maradona and Pele are probably the most famous, and hold most of the votes among an elite group that includes Cruijff, Beckenbauer, Zico, Garrincha, Puskas and Di Stefano.

The discussion about which of the two is the number one player of all time proved to be never ending. Even though most consider them as the best player of their time, many consider the comparison between them useless, as they played during incomparable eras, and in different leagues.

The argument reached a climax during the FIFA century awards in 2000, in which Maradona was voted Player of the Century in an official internet poll, garnering 53.6% of the votes against 18.53% for Pele. In spite of this, and shortly before the ceremony, the FIFA unexpectedly decided to add a second award and appointed a "Football Family" committee composed of football journalists that also gave to Pele the title of best player of the century to make it a draw. This move was criticized in Argentina. Many suspected that Pele was rewarded for his constant support of FIFA, in contrast to Maradona's frequent criticism. Others believe that FIFA was considering issues other than football, notably Maradona's drug problem. Maradona left the ceremony right after receiving his award, and before Pele was given his. An example of the fluent cooperation between Pele and the FIFA is the FIFA 100 best players' list, supposedly created in 2004 by Pele for FIFA's 100th anniversary, though many believe that it was created by the FIFA Executive Committee following political motivations. In that year Pele was given the FIFA Order of Merit for his contributions to football.

In another internet poll that took place in 2002, Maradona received another award from FIFA, as one of his goals was selected as the World Cup Goal of the Century. One of Pele's goals conquered the third place, while Maradona had a second goal selected as fourth. Critics to those two internet polls claim them to be highly susceptible to coverage bias, because of the more common access to Internet by younger users who might not have seen Pele in action.

In spite of their frequent confrontations, usually through quotations by the media, Pele was the guest star of Maradona's TV show La Noche del 10 ("The Night of the 10"), where they had a friendly chat and played a bout of headers .

Famous players and football figures often give their opinion on the Maradona and Pele rivalry, sometimes choosing one of the over the other. Others prefer not to compare them, as they played in very different times.


1920 incident

The friendly match played on October 12 1920 in Buenos Aires started with 8 players on each side, as some of the Brazilian players refused to play because an Argentine newspaper insulted them calling them macaquitos (little monkeys), in clear reference to the Afro-Brazilians in the team. Only 8 Brazilian players wanted to play, so the Argentine side decided to send only 8 to the pitch. Argentina won the match 3-1.

1937 incident

In the South American Championship 1937 (current Copa America), the rivalry between both teams was already something of national pride. There were verbal confrontations between both parties, and Argentine fans often taunted the Brazilians by calling them macaquitos and making monkey sounds. The final match, held in Buenos Aires, was played between the two sides and was goalless after ninety minutes. In additional time, Argentina scored two goals, and the Brazilians decided to leave the pitch early. The Brazilian press called it "the game of shame".

1939 incident

In 1939 there were two matches between Argentina and Brazil, both of them in Rio de Janeiro and for the Roca Cup. The first one, held in January, ended 5–1 to Argentina.

A second match was held only one week later, with the Brazilian team seeking revenge for the previous defeat. The match was vibrating; first Brazil went ahead 1–0, then Argentina recovered to lead 1–2, and Brazil then drew level at 2–2. Shortly before the end of the match the referee, the same as in the previous match, gave a dubious penalty to Brazil. Furious, Argentina player Arcadio Lopez verbally attacked the referee and had to be escorted out of the pitch by police. The Argentine team, enraged by the actions of the referee and the police, left the pitch. The penalty that gave Brazil the 3–2 victory was scored without a goalkeeper, because the entire Argentine team had already walked off the pitch.

1945 and 1946 incidents

In the 1945 match that Brazil won by 6 goals to 2, young Brazilian Ademir Menezes fractured Argentine Batagliero's leg. Though it seemed to be only an unfortunate accident, the game was played roughly and sometimes violently.

A few months later, the South American Championship 1946 final again involved Argentina and Brazil. There was a large media coverage, and the conviction that it would be a rough match. Twenty-eight minutes after the beginning, when both teams went for a free ball, Brazilian Jair Rosa Pinto fractured Argentine captain Jose Salomon's tibia and fibula. General disorder ensued, with Argentine and Brazilian players fighting on the pitch with the police. The public invaded the pitch and both teams had to go to the dressing rooms. After order was restored the game continued, and Argentina won the match 2–0. Salomon never recovered completely nor played professional football after the incident.

1964 Taca de Nacoes

At the 1964 Taca de Nacoes tournament celebrating fifty years of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Argentina was invited to play with England and Portugal in Brazil. The Brazilian Confederation was so convinced of victory that they had already engraved the names of the Brazilian players onto the watches which would be presented to the winners. Both Argentina and Brazil easily defeated England and Portugal, but in a tough match in Sao Paulo, Argentina were able to comfortably beat the Brazilians 3-0 after Pele was man-marked by Antonio Rattin. This victory meant that Argentina claimed the tournament at Brazil's expense.

1978 FIFA World Cup controversy

In the second group stage Brazil were competing with tournament hosts Argentina for top spot and a place in the finals. In their last group match, Brazil defeated Poland 3-1 to go top of the group with a goal difference of +5. Argentina were only on a goal difference of +2, but in their last group match they managed to defeat Peru 6-0, thus qualifying for the final instead of Brazil. Brazil alleged that the win was controversial because the Peruvian goalkeeper Ramon Quiroga was born in Argentina, and had only allowed 6 goals in the previous 5 matches, whereas the Argentines had only scored 6 goals in the tournament up to that point. Both Argentine and Peruvian players have always denied any wrongdoing and Brazil's allegation was never proven, but the controversy still exists. Argentina went on to win the World Cup beating the Netherlands 3-1.

1990 FIFA World Cup incident

The round of 16 in the 1990 FIFA World Cup held in Italy featured one highly anticipated clash between the two South American powers. Brazil dominated most of the game and it seemed that the Argentines would to be lucky to hold the Brazilians to a draw after they hit the posts and crossbar 3 times. But with very little time left, Maradona played a pass to Caniggia, who faced goalkeeper Taffarel and put the ball into the net. Argentina won the game and went all the way to the final of the World Cup, where they lost to Germany 1-0.

This game is also remembered by an incident featuring Brazilian defender Branco and Argentine assistant Miguel di Lorenzo, known as "Galindez". Branco claims that he felt dizzy after drinking from a water bottle given to him by di Lorenzo but he still finished the game without asking to be substituted. In 2005, Maradona seemed to confirm this suspicion; this generated calls for sanctions against Argentina's then coach Carlos Bilardo and his assistant. To this day, Galindez denies that the bottle contained anything other than water.

1991 Copa America match

Argentina defeated Brazil 3-2 in Santiago, Chile in the first match of the final pool. 5 players were sent off: Claudio Caniggia and Mazinho after tangling in the 31st minute; Enrique and Marcio Santos for another fight in the 61st minute, with one player leaving on a stretcher; and Careca III in the 80th minute, 2 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

1995 Copa America match

Held in Uruguay they met at the quarter-finals stage on July 17, 1995 . Brazilian Tulio Costa became famous for scoring a late equalizer five minutes from time after controlling the ball with his left arm. Despite the obvious foul, the referee claimed he did not see the incident and the goal stood.. The game finished with a 2-2 draw and Brazil went on to win on penalties.

1996 media incident

During the 1996 Summer Olympics, Argentina's rival for the final match of the gold medal was to be decided between Brazil and Nigeria. The sports newspaper Diario Ole printed the controversial headline Que vengan los macacos ("Bring the monkeys on"), in clear reference to the already forgotten term used decades before. The headline was widely condemned both in Argentina and Brazil. Nigeria eventually obtained the golden medal, Argentina got the silver, and Brazil the bronze.

Desabato/Grafite 2005 incident

In a Copa Libertadores 2005 match, after a tackle by the Brazilian club Sao Paulo's player Grafite, Argentine Quilmes player Leandro Desabato supposedly reacted with a racist insult towards Grafite even though the referee was standing less than three feet away and wrote in his report that he did not hear Desabato. In what was called by the Argentine media "an extremely exaggerated reaction" and by their Brazilian counterparts as "an exemplary reaction to a racist attack", Desabato was arrested after the match, handcuffed, taken to the local police station, and kept there for 40 hours. The entire Quilmes team waited for Desabato in Brazil while he was held in custody. With Desabato sent back to Argentina, and after a few days of tension and media coverage of the event, Grafite finally dropped the charges.

Club level

At club level, Argentine clubs show an important advantage over the Brazilians. Argentine clubs have won 21 Copas Libertadores against 13, and 9 Intercontinental Cups against 8. The second most important CONMEBOL championship, equivalent to the European UEFA Cup, is the Copa Sudamericana with a slight advantage for Argentina. Other minor events include the Recopa Sudamericana, and the defunct Copa CONMEBOL and Copa Interamericana. However, it must be noted that during the 70s, Brazilian clubs rarely participated in international competitions with their first team players due to the long domestic schedule.

In the international arena, the most successful Argentine clubs are Boca Juniors, Club Atletico Independiente, Estudiantes de La Plata, and River Plate. Brazilians include Sao Paulo, Cruzeiro, Santos, Gremio and Flamengo.

Women's football

The Brazil women's national football team is a successful women's football team, though not as successful as the men's counterpart. It was runner-up in the FIFA Women's World Cup of 2007, and a Silver Medal at the Olympic games in 2004. In comparison, Argentina does not have a professional (or even semi-professional) women's football league; the members of the Argentina women's national football team are all amateur players despite their clubs often being affiliated with prominent men's professional clubs. Although the two teams usually have to battle for the top qualification spots for CONMEBOL when the World Cup qualification comes around, this rivalry does not provide the passion that men's matches encounter yet.

Brazil won every game of the Sudamericano Femenino against Argentina until the 2006 edition, when Argentina finally beat them 2-0 in the final group stage, awarding Argentina the championship. Argentina did not participate in the 1991 South American competition and was second to Brazil in the following 3 tournaments. Beginning with the 2003 edition, both champion and runner-up qualified for the World Cup. As Argentina has not been past the group stages in the World Cup, the two teams have not met in the Olympic Football Tournament yet.

Football culture

Depicting the football rivalry between the two South American countries, Maradona filmed a television commercial in which he is wearing the Brazilian outfit, lined up with Brazilian stars Kaka and Ronaldo, singing the Brazilian national anthem before a match. He then wakes up from the nightmare, where he can be seen wearing an Argentine national shirt in his bed, next to a bunch of empty cans of Guarana Antarctica, a Brazilian soft drink.

See also


External links

Brazil vs. Argentina rivalry

Argentina vs. Brazil statistics by RSSSF

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Argentina and Brazil football rivalry

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