Brazil-Argentina semi-final moves another step closer

2 months ago Dhaka Tribune

"Brazilian, Brazilian, how bitter you are. Each time we are closer to meeting again!"

The stands don't lie. Immediately after Argentina's 2-1 victory over Australia in the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Albiceleste fans were already thinking about a possible meeting with Brazil in the semi-final, a classic rivalry that has been waiting to be renewed on the biggest stage for 32 years by both sides.

For that to happen, the Argentinians need to beat the Netherlands in the quarter-finals and count on the Seleção - emphatic winners in their last-16 tie with Korea Republic - seeing off Croatia.

These South American giants have not met in a World Cup since 1990, but the rivalry has only grown since then, with many regional clashes. This could be one of the biggest games in World Cup history and the biggest Brazil-Argentina match-up football has ever seen.

A rematch 32 years and counting...

Brazil and Argentina have met four times in the history of the World Cup. The record is fairly balanced, with two wins for Brazil, one for Argentina and a draw. The four games took place in a span of five World Cups, between 1974 and 1990.

In 1974 and 1978, the rivals met within groups that defined the qualifiers for the final. In the first meeting, Brazil beat Argentina, but finished second in the group, which was won by the Netherlands. Four years later, a 0-0 draw helped Argentina qualify from a group that also included Peru and Poland.

In 1982, Brazil and Argentina met again in the same phase. The Seleção defeated their rivals 3-1, in one of the great games of the mythical team that included Zico and Socrates. But the defeat to Italy ended up eliminating Brazil from the competition.

The last confrontation was in 1990, already in the current format. In the Round of 16, Brazil played a game of great possession and scoring chances, but Diego Maradona unbalanced the rhythm with a brilliant individual play before Claudio Caniggia's goal.

After so many clashes, the rivalry has been looking forward to a reunion ever since. It has been 32 years and counting, which may come to an end in a few days in Qatar.

Argentinian magic at the Maracana

Despite the history in World Cups, there is another component that spices up the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina: the final of the Copa America in 2021. Argentina had not won an official title since 1993. The 28-year taboo came to an end in great style, against Brazil in the Maracana.

Angel Di Maria's goal gave Argentina the victory and glory to remember in this rivalry. The triumph inside the Maracana became the theme of music, flags and all kinds of celebrations by the Albiceleste fans.

Messi and Neymar's last dance

Before the competition in Qatar, Messi and Neymar spoke a few times that this could be their last World Cup. In search of an unprecedented title, the Paris Saint-Germain duo represents the greatest hope of each of their countries.

A confrontation between the two friends, even before the ball starts rolling, would already go down in World Cup history, honoring a legacy worthy of the clash between Zico and Maradona in 1982.

The goal that became music

The importance of the Superclásico is so great that Caniggia's goal, even without being part of a title campaign, is one of the most celebrated goals in the history of Argentina.

The goal over the Brazilians even became the theme of a song which went, "We will never forget that Diego dribbled you, Caniggia punished you, and they are crying from Italy to this day."

Fly, Canarinho, fly!

Even without winning the World Cup, the Brazil team of 1982 is considered to this day as one of the best that ever played in the tournament.

The team's greatest display was precisely against Argentina. Brazil didn't let their rivals down and won 3-1, with goals from Zico, Serginho Chulapa, and Junior.


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