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Football in Argentina

Football was introduced to Argentina in the latter half of the 19th century, as in many other parts of the world, by the British immigrants in Buenos Aires, numbering round 40,000 people, along with rugby union and other sports.

The English influence

On May 9, 1867 a meeting took place in Buenos Aires (organized by Thomas and James Hogg), where the Buenos Aires Football Club was founded. The Buenos Aires Cricket Club gave them permission to make use of the cricket field. The first recorded football match in Argentina took place on the Buenos Aires Cricket Club in Palermo, Buenos Aires on 20 June 1867 and played between two teams of British merchants, the White Caps and the Red Caps. The First team: Thomas Hogg, James Hogg, William Forrester, T.B. Smith, J.W. Bond, E.S. Smith, J. Rabsbottom and N.H. Smith. The other team: William Heald, T.R. Best, U. Smith, H.J. Barge, H. Willmont, R.M. Ramsay, J. Simpson and W. Boschetti. Hogg's team won by 4 goals to none.

(it was common in the early days of football for teams to be distinguished by caps rather than jerseys).

The so-called "father of Argentine football" was a Glaswegian schoolteacher, Alexander Watson Hutton, who first taught football at St Andrew's School in Buenos Aires in the early 1880s. On 4 February 1884 "Alumni Athletic Club" - RSSSF. URL accessed on June 6 2006. he founded the Buenos Aires English High School where he continued to instruct the pupils in the game. "Buenos Aires English High School" URL accessed on June 6 2006.. In 1891 Hutton established the Association Argentine Football League "Argentina 1891" - RSSSF. URL accessed on June 6 2006., the first football league outside of the British Isles . Five clubs competed but only one season was ever played.

A number of clubs, including Rosario Central, Ferro Carril Oeste, Club Ferrocarril Midland, Rosario Central and Talleres de Cordoba, were set up by the employees of the various British-owned railway companies that were founded in Argentina towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Amateur Era

Main article: Amateur Era in Argentine football

A new league, the The Argentine Association Football League'' was formed February 21, 1893 and this eventually became the Argentine Football Association. In these early days of football in Argentina nearly all of the players and officials were expatriate Britons or of British extraction and the oldest football clubs in Argentina like Rosario Central, Newell's Old Boys and Quilmes Athletic Club were all founded by British expatriates. The most successful and admired team was Alumni founded by graduates and students of Hutton's English High School. Like all of the early clubs it was mostly made up of British players, but Italian immigrants soon overtook the British as the surnames of players like Tesorieri, Ratto and Orsi reveal.

Most of the early clubs had a policy of excluding the local creole population. The backlash against this policy at Quilmes Athletic Club resulted in the formation of Argentino de Quilmes in 1899, the first of many Argentine clubs for Argentine players. The name Argentino or Argentinos has remained popular in Argentine football. The most famous team with the name is Argentinos Juniors who won the Copa Libertadores in 1985.

As the popularity of the game increased the British influence on the game waned. In 1911 Alumni folded and by 1912 the Association was renamed Asociacion Argentina de Football, although the tradition of giving the clubs English names continued for many years. Most of the major clubs were created around the turn of the 20th century; they played in the national amateur tournament or in local championships. By then, matches had a considerable attendance.

Professional era

In the 1930 FIFA World Cup, the world turned to South America for the first Football World Cup, held in Uruguay, and Argentina had an important role, losing to the host country in the final match.

A year later, football was professionalized, and was already the most popular sport.

Since then, football kept gaining popularity, and Argentina became a synonym with football around the world. Many great players abandoned Argentina to go to better paying leagues

such as the Spanish, Italian and the English. Raimundo Orsi, Alfredo Di Stefano, Omar Sivori, Mario Kempes, Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta, and Juan Roman Riquelme are just a few examples of the many Argentine footballers who have left the country to become famous in Europe.

Late in the 20th century women started practicing the sport in the amateur level, leading to the creation of the Argentina women's national football team, which participates in the Sudamericano Femenino since its creation in 1991, being runner-ups on 3 occasions. They also qualified for and participated in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003.


Football plays an important part in the life of many Argentines. Even those supporters who usually do not attend the matches watch them on television and comment on them the next day with friends and co-workers. When the Argentina national football team plays(especially during world cup matches), streets tend to look completely deserted as everyone is watching the match. After the victories in 1978 FIFA World Cup and 1986 FIFA World Cup, streets were flooded with people celebrating the championship, making it impossible not to become part of the celebration.

It was in 1986 when the figure of Diego Maradona exploded, becoming an icon not only of Argentine football but of football itself. In Argentina, Maradona became something resemblant of a god (see Maradonian Church), admired by fans of every club (even River Plate).

Many Argentine fans travel to see their teams in away matches. Hinchas (fans) create an emotional ambiance in many stadiums, singing and cheering loudly all game long; barra bravas (Argentine Hooligans) also create occasional problems, usually in riots after the match. Probably one of the most exciting matches in the world is the Boca-River Derby, where the colourful fans seem to become more important than the match itself.

See also

Argentine First Division

Argentine football league system

Argentine Derbies

Argentine Football Creole Style

Argentina and Brazil football rivalry

Argentina and England football rivalry

List of football clubs in Argentina

List of Argentine football announcers

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Football in Argentina

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