FEATURE - By Tauan Ambrosio & Rupert Fryer
An old rivalry will resume on Tuesday when Brazil host Argentina in front of more than 60,000 people at King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah.
The two sides last met in June 2017, when an experimental Brazil side went down 1-0 on the Brasil Global Tour of Melbourne in front of 95,000 fans. And this week international football's greatest derby continues.
The story of the fixture begins back on September 20, 1914. The Selecao was a mere infant, with just one game under their belt, but with a 100 per cent record after a 2-0 victory over Exeter City in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil’s next challenge was scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires, where they would be challenging for the Copa Julio Roca, founded by the then Argentine President who'd hoped regular football games would help improve relations between the neighbouring countries.
However, severe delays to the ship that was supposed to take the Brazil players to the port of Buenos Aires meant the single-game tournament was cancelled, and a friendly was played out instead.
Little did Argentine midfielder Antonio Piaggio know at the time, but that afternoon he would kick off international football’s greatest rivalry.
Other games between the two countries had already been played out in South American grasslands across the continent, but that afternoon at the home of Club Gimnasia y Esgrima hosted the first ever Fifa-recognised encounter between these two great footballing nations.
|Biggest Argentine victory: Argentina 6-1 Brazil (1940) |
Biggest Brazilian victory: Brazil 6-2 Argentina (1945)
World Cup meetings: Four games: two wins for Brazil (1974 & 1982), one draw (1978) & one win for Argentina (1990)
Copa America final meetings: Argentina 2-0 Brazil (1937), Argentina 2-0 Brazil (1946), Argentina 1-1 Brazil (1959), Brazil 2 (4)-(2) 2 Argentina (2004), Brazil 3-0 Argentina.
Confederations Cup Final 2005: Brazil 4-1 Argentina
Argentina ran out 3-0 winners, thanks to a Carlos Izaguirre brace either side of a strike from Aquiles Molfino.
However, Brazil would not have to wait long for their revenge. The clash for the Copa Roca trophy was rescheduled and played out at the same venue just one week later.
Brazil warmed up with a 3-1 over Colombia and went on to claim the first Roca title with a 1-0 victory over their hosts, claiming their maiden trophy thanks to a lone goal from Paulistano’s Ruben Salles.
In the century since, Brazil and Argentina fans have each put forward their cases to lay claim to the throne reserved for the kings of the Americas, with disputes often centering on the virtues of their individual idols.
And, of course, Diego Maradona or Pele? These two footballing giants have given birth to some of the greatest players the sport has ever seen.
From its early roots in the ports of Buenos Aires, football spread a little quicker throughout Argentina, rapidly penetrating the social classes of the nation’s inner-cities, which undoubtedly contributed to a more fruitful first half of the 20th century of the Albiceleste. But Brazil soon caught up.
From 1958 onwards, Brazil have claimed five World Cups to Argentina’s two.
Idols: Maradona and Pele never met on the field, but lived a fierce rivalry off the pitch
Brazil’s South American neighbours had to wait until 1978 for their first world title, when Mario Kempes led them to victory in Buenos Aires with victory over the Netherlands in the final.
The hosts made it that far thanks to a controversial 6-0 victory over Peru that eliminated the Selecao from the tournament.
Eight years later, Argentina would lift the trophy again, this time in Mexico as Maradona gave perhaps the all-time greatest World Cup performance – and he did so wearing the famous no.10. Ever since, the debate over the greatest of all time has raged on.
And on Tuesday the rivalry resumes.