Editor’s note: One of the less discussed topics at this World Cup has been the vocal animosity that Brazil fans have shown towards Argentina, whether it’s Brazilians booing the Argentina team and/or cheering on Argentina’s opposition. Now with Argentina in the final on Brazil soil, we thought it’d be a good opportunity to have World Soccer Talk writer Juan Arango shine some light on this love-hate relationship between Argentina and Brazil.
If you were to tell me who to use as a reference in order to get a better idea regarding the relationship between Argentina and Brazil on the football pitch, I would recommend Jimmy Connors. The tennis player always said that throughout his career he had very few friends because he could not have an acquaintance of a person that could beat him on the tennis court. A rival can be respected, but to have a friendship with them would leave you susceptible to weakness.
When I lived in Argentina, I had the pleasure of experiencing the 2002 World Cup in a footballing nation. The Argentine elimination after drawing with Sweden was one of the most surreal moments that I had seen up to that point. Yet it was even more awkward to see scantily clad Brazilians dancing on the streets of Buenos Aires when they beat Germany to win their fifth World Cup. It was about 45F on that winter morning, and a carnival emerged. The noise for many was unbearable, not just because it was eight in the morning. It was unbearable and they didn’t care one bit. They celebrated on Argentine soil a title that was won nearly 11 time zones away.
As I watched from a local bar, an Argentine friend of mine told me words that gave me a bit of insight I never imagined to have. “It’s ok, they won the World Cup. Brazil are our rivals, but England are our enemies.”
Sunday’s match is similar but quite a bit different. Argentina are looking to win what would be the sweetest title should they overcome a powerful German side in the Mecca of Brazilian football – Maracanã.
There is no love lost between Argentina and Brazil on the pitch. Yes, there is a great deal of respect by both sides. You would see that respect on the streets of Savassi over in Belo Horizonte after Lionel Messi hit the ball into the back of the Iranian net. There was lots of commingling, lots of socializing and lots of “hookups” between Argentine fans and Brazilian locals. Many were accompanied when the sun came up the following morning. All this occurred just hours after Brazilian fans were at the Mineirão chanting in favor of the Iranians and were silenced by Messi’s wonder strike.