World Cup Rivalries: Argentina vs Brazil

brazil and argentina flags on football pitchWhen it comes to rivalries in international football, there are fewer bigger than the one between South American powerhouses Argentina and Brazil.

The games between the pair are commonly referred to as Superclasico de las Americas or Superclassico das Americas, depending on which country you are from, are usually explosive affairs.

The rivalry is elevated by the fact that both teams often contain such talented players, with both teams also more often than not in FIFA’s top ten world ranking.

With World Cup 2022 just a matter of days away, we thought we would look at the great rivalry between the great footballing nations. So, here is more info on what is a feisty rivalry that dates back over a century.


brazil v argentina footballThe two nations have officially met each other on 105 occasions since their first meeting in 1914, which includes friendly matches and games at FIFA World Cups. FIFA records show that of those 105 games, Brazil has recorded 41 victories, Argentina has 38 wins, and 26 games have produced draws. The Selecao have been slightly more prolific in the meetings, scoring 163 goals compared to the Albiceleste’s three fewer goals.

The record of the teams meeting at the World Cup is pretty even, although Brazil have claimed two victories, with one Argentina win and one draw in four meetings. However, La Albiceleste are way ahead when it comes to head-to-head records in the Copa America, as they have claimed 14 victories and suffered nine defeats, with eight games ending in draws.

World Cup Meetings

world cup trophy and ballThe two South American giants have only met four times at the World Cup. The first meeting between the pair at a World Cup was in 1974 in Hannover. The Selecao recorded a 2-1 victory over their rivals when the duo were paired in Group A of the competition. Brazil claimed victory courtesy of goals from Rivelino and Jairzinho, while Miguel Angel Brindisi struck for Argentina.

The second meeting came in a confrontational 0-0 draw in the second round in 1978, and the game was so fierce that it earned the moniker “A Batalha de Rosário” (“The Battle of Rosario”)

The result saw Brazil take third place, as their great rivals went on to lift the trophy, beating the Netherlands 3-1 in extra-time, with striker Mario Kempes scoring a goal in 90 minutes and extra-time.

Brazil took their revenge in the 1982 World Cup, as the pair met in the Group of death, with the duo also paired with Italy. The Selecao were just too good for the reigning world champions, winning 3-1, but in truth, it could and should have been a heavier defeat but for some poor finishing.

To add insult to injury, future Argentinian legend Diego Maradona was dismissed late on for kicking Brazilian midfielder Batista.

Argentina recorded their only World Cup victory over Brazil in World Cup 1990, the last time the pair met in the competition. Flamboyant playmaker Claudio Cannigia scored the game’s only goal, latching on to a Maradona pass before rounding Brazilian goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel and firing home.

The game was shrouded in controversy, though, after Brazilian defender Branco claimed that some of the Argentinian backroom team gave him a bottle of holy water laced with tranquillisers.  Maradona later claimed in an interview that Branco did receive ‘holy water’ but did not say if it was laced with tranquilisers. Argentinian coach Carlos Billardo denied any wrongdoing on his team’s behalf.

Which Team Has Won More International Trophies?

world cup trophy in the sandIn the men’s senior game, Argentina edges out their rivals when it comes to trophies won. Argentina has won 21, while Brazil has claimed just one less. Brazil are the more successful at the World Cups, as their tally of five wins is a record. The Albiceleste are trailing behind on just two wins in 1978 and 1986.

However, Argentina has won the Copa America on 15 occasions, compared to Brazil’s nine, which is a record that boosts Argentina’s numbers in trophies won.

Pele vs Diego Maradona vs Lionel Messi

maradona hand of god shirt
Maradona hand of god shirt

What seems to be an eternal debate about who was or is the greatest footballer is highly prevalent in the Argentina-Brazil rivalry, as three of the players mentioned in the discussion are usually Brazil’s Pele and Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Prior to the arrival on the scene of Messi just under two decades ago, the big debate was about Pele vs Maradona being the greatest-ever footballer. Most would accept that the pair were great players during their generation. However, they played very different games in different eras of football.

Both have received countless accolades and awards throughout the years. Numerous pools have been held, but in truth, the answer is a matter of opinion. Many of the current generation of football fans will also make the claim that Messi is the greatest player of all time. Once again, though, it’s impossible to measure him against his predecessors, and it is a seemingly endless debate.

What is for sure, though, is that Argentina and Brazil keep producing highly talented footballers, and it is why they have been so successful on the international stage for decades.

Both Looking To Make A Significant Impact In Qatar

world cup qatar 2022Brazil and Argentina are two of the favourites to win the World Cup in Qatar in December. The Selecao look to have assembled yet another squad of highly talented players with seemingly few weaknesses.

However, Argentina will be looking to their now veteran forward Messi to carry them to World Cup glory, which, thus far in his career, he has failed to do. This is likely the PSG star’s last chance to win the World Cup before he hangs up his boots.

The two current teams meeting at World Cup 2022 would no doubt be a fascinating prospect, as both teams are full of talented players. A World Cup meeting in the latest edition of the competition would only add to the eternal rivalry between South American football’s two biggest powerhouses.

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