Americas

Rivals but Brothers: Argentina and Brazil through Sports

The traditional rivalry between both countries’ supporters is one of Rio Olympics’ main highlights, hiding a very special love-hate relationship

August 17th, 2016
Nicolás Pan-Montojo, CD News
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The Facebook page of the Argentinian Embassy in Berlin has recently uploaded a video where we can see supporters from Brazil and Argentina speaking about their traditional sporting rivalry but also of the long-standing friendship between the regional giants. A good example of the Olympic spirit, where rivals are enemies only to become friends once the whistle blows and the match is over.

“We are lucky and happy to have the Olympic Games in South America”, states one Argentinian athlete at the beginning of the video. “We are rival supporters but we are brothers” says a Brazilian supporter. “Outside of the field, we need to have a friendly relation with other supporters” claims an Argentinian coach. These are all statements present in the video made public by the Rio Olympics organization and shared on by the Argentinian Embassy in Berlin; Argentina and Brazil may be long-standing rivals, but they are also South American neighbours and brothers.

The truth is, the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina comes a long way, a normal characteristic between the two biggest and richest nations of South America, who have always competed to become the regional leader. But nowadays, with both countries integrated in Mercosur and the exceptional quantity of diplomatic ties between them, sports are the only area where the South American giants still clash, with their supporters arguing endlessly about who has the best team.

Of course, this rivalry finds its finest expression through football, an authentic passion in both countries. The Argentine-Brazilian rivalry in football is well known, there is nothing more important for either of the two countries than to beat the other, their eternal classic footballing rival. It is impossible for a Brazilian and an Argentine to talk about football without mentioning the eternal discussion of Pele vs. Maradona, which is destined never to be settled no matter what. The latest example is the infamous “Brasil, decime que se siente” (Brazil, tell me how it feels) song, which was used as a war cry by Argentinians during the last World Cup, in Brazil also, to undermine their traditional rivals. 

However, and as stated by the video, the rivalry lives but stays on the field. “Sport is supposed to make people come together, not tear them apart” claims a Brazilian supporter. “The game is over and everything is over, we continue to be brothers”, concludes his Argentinian homologue. Rivals but brothers.

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