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4044 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Mar 7, 2008 11:27 AM by Trish18
Active Soccer Rookie 3 posts since
Sep 7, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 30, 2008 5:03 PM

Soccer's Biggest Rivalries

Boca v River: Argentina

I lived in Argentina for a semester in college and knew I couldn't miss the opportunity to attend a soccer game while I was there. Some local friends convinced me that a match between Boca and River was the best pick. At the time I didn't know that those were two of the biggest rivals in the history of the game.


My friend's insisted that I should not go alone so we planned to meet at the stadium stop on the train line. I missed the stop and didn't realize it until several stations later. By the time I made it back to the stadium stop my friends had already left for the game. I remembered their warnings but I still wanted to see the game, and I was already there, so I followed the stream of fans from the train station and walked towards the stadium.


As I approached, the roars from the crowd had an ominous effect--echoing through the dark cement stadium entrance. When I got to the front, the guards sized me up, entertained that an American girl would attend a soccer match in Argentina by herself but they let me in, anxious to see if I would survive. "Be careful," they warned as I made my way through the gates leaving their snickers and sneers behind.


The general seating area felt like a prison. A barb-wire fence rising 10-feet tall separated the field from the fans in addition to a moteabout three-feet widethat surrounded the field. The stadium was pulsating with chants and shouts. Fans were waving flags, burning flags, getting in fights and screaming at each other. I was mesmerized, that is until a glass bottle went sailing through the air and shattered at my feet.


I looked around for my friends but quickly realized I was not going to find them and I picked a defensive position close to an exit. It was exciting to watch a real soccer match, with history, spirit and raw emotion. For a moment, I could feel the passion that was instilled in these fans from before they are even born. I looked around at the dirty, urine stained stadium with the barb wire fence and glass bottles crashing around me and instantly fell in love with the game.


When the match ended, the crowd stomped their way to the exit. I got jostled around but stood my ground and let the human river carry me outside. Suddenly, everyone started sprinting across the street in a mad rush. Nothing about this night felt safe so I stuck close by a man that was holding onto his young daughter deciding he would be my anchor to safety.


The next day, the main headline in the papers read "Soccer Canceled for Fans". Two people got shot outside the stadium that night in an argument about the game and fans were banned from attending games for the rest of the season. I had seen the last possible game that year.


Later that night I sat in a pub with some friends who helped me transcribe some of the songs that were being chanted in the stadium the night before.


Boca, mi buen amigo

Esta campaña volvaremos a estar contigo.


They started swaying and hoisted their beers in the air


Te alentaremos de corazon,

Esta es tu hinchada que te quiere ver campeon.


they put their arms around each other as the bartender joined in


No me importa lo que digan,

Lo que digan los demas.

Yo te sigo a toda parte,

Y cada vez te quiero mas.


I scribbled in my notebook trying to capture the smiles in their voices and the sparkle in their eyes as their beers splashed on the table and their songs filtered out the pub door.

  • mvalenti Community Moderator 84 posts since
    Jul 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jan 30, 2008 5:17 PM (in response to Active Soccer)
    Re: Soccer's Biggest Rivalries

    On an International Level: Argentina vs. England


    The most talked about play in soccer, the Hand of God, forever cemented the rivalry between Argentina and England. As one English soccer fan puts it, The Hand of God is "an act which the Argentinians either adore or grudgingly admire for it's cheek, and the entirety of the English people revile."

  • saraallent Legend 1,063 posts since
    Oct 2, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jan 31, 2008 3:50 PM (in response to mvalenti)
    Re: Soccer's Biggest Rivalries

    There are definitely some very serious rivalries in soccer, or football depending on who you are, and these rivalries are often based on more then just the game itself. 


    One rivalry that comes to mind is the intense match up between two Scottish teams, the Celtic and Rangers, otherwise known as the Old Firm.  These two teams have faced each other over 370 times and each match brings more then just a competitive spirit to the field as it pits opposing religious, political and social views against each other.  The Old Firm is clearly an intense match and one that definitely goes down in history as one of the biggest rivalries in soccer.


    Has anyone ever been or know more about it? I've only heard stories.

  • jspitzberg Expert 37 posts since
    May 2, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Feb 5, 2008 8:40 PM (in response to mvalenti)
    Re: Soccer's Biggest Rivalries
    mvalenti wrote:

    On an International Level: Argentina vs. England


    The most talked about play in soccer, the Hand of God, forever cemented the rivalry between Argentina and England. As one English soccer fan puts it, The Hand of God is "an act which the Argentinians either adore or grudgingly admire for it's cheek, and the entirety of the English people revile."


    To be fair, the Falklands War four years earlier had a bit to do with the development of this particular rivalry.


    Club rivalries normally develop over geography or sustained competition for championships:  Spurs/Arsenal in North London.  ManU/Liverpool atop the English game; Ajax/Feyenoord/PSV in Holland; Boca/River in Argentina as you mentioned.  ManU/ManCiteh and Inter Milan/AC Milan, for obvious reasons.  Liverpool/Everton, and Torino/Juventus are also clubs in the same cities, though Torino is hardly ever in the same league as the Old Lady.


    Barca/Real Madrid is interesting because not only are the two sides inevitably vying with each other to win La Liga, but there are cultural, linguistic, and political splits between the Catalan and Castilian clubs.


    Here in the states we have some healthy dislike between the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas (formerly the Burn, hence their competiton for the Brimstone Cup), Colorado and Real Salt Lake fight over the Rocky Mountains, and DCUnited and NY/NJ Metrostars (sorry, Red Bulls) battle for supremacy along I-95.

  • Trish18 Legend 457 posts since
    Jun 5, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Mar 7, 2008 11:27 AM (in response to mvalenti)
    Re: Soccer's Biggest Rivalries

    I second this vote and recently posted a blog about it-- Maradona's Hand of God Goal Revisited--because Maradona was in the headlines again a couple weeks ago saying, "If I could apologize and go back and change history I would."


    However, he shortly thereafter said that the paper changed his words and what he actually said was, "A long time has passed since that and that history can't be rewound."


    Not just any match here, it was the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals! Unbelievable.

    Community Development Specialist | Team Sports

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