Brazil Argentina Copa America Rivalry

Brazil Argentina Copa America Rivalry

Argentina vs Brazil

After Emi Martinez’ penalty heroics in the semi final, Argentina will today have the chance to lift the Copa America for the first time since 1993. For many it is also Leo Messi’s best, and possibly final, chance to finally lift a major trophy with the national side.

They will be up against Neymar’s Brazil, themselves going for a modern era record of seven titles and who will be hoping for a repeat of the last time the two sides met in the competition, when Brazil dumped Argentina out at the semi-final stage in 2019.

Having first met in the Copa America final in 1925, back when it was still known as the South American Championship, the side have since contested ten finals in the 100 odd years since, most recently in 2007. With Argentina having dominated the first 70 years of the rivalry, Brazil have won the last two Copa America finals between the sides.

Undoubtedly the biggest match between the two sides this decade, tonight's game is set up to be an absolute classic. So, to get in the spirit we took a look back through the archives and picked out five of our favourite ever Argentina Brazil match ups. 

Clashes between two of football's oldest and greatest rivals are never dull and if tonight's match up is half the game some of these were, we are in for an absolute treat. 


Argentina 3 Brazil 2 - Copa America 1991



Five goals and five red cards go some way to telling you what kind of game the 1991 Copa America clash was. An early headed goal from Argentina’s Franco was cancelled out by a remarkable 35 yard free kick by Branco. Brazilian full back Mazinho then assaulted Cannigia and they both got sent off for it. Another headed goal by Franco followed before Batsituta made it three nil with an even better one. Brazil pulled one back in the 52nd minute and then all hell broke loose. Argentina’s Carlos Enrique decided to stamp on Marcio Lopez’ head before, something the ref deemed worthy of a red card for each man. Careca then made it five dismissals mere minutes after entering the field as a substitute. It may just be the definitive Brazil and Argentina match up. 


Argentina 4 Brazil 3 - Friendly 2012



(A game in which Lionel Messi quite simply stole the show. A seven goal, end to end thriller that has to go down among the finest friendlies played anywhere in football)

The only friendly match on this list but are there ever really any friendly matches between two? 

A pulsating game that saw each side take the lead twice that was finished off with a remarkable hat trick completing goal by Leo Messi. His third was undoubtedly the finest effort of the seven scored on the day, picking up the ball on the half way line before surging forward and firing into Rafael’s top corner from 30 yards. 


Argentina 1 Brazil 0 - 1990 World Cup



(From an iconic Maradona assist to an allegedly drugged water bottle, the last time these two sides met on football’s biggest stage remains an absolute classic)

Far from the most high tempo, action packed, match up on this list, the 1990 World Cup clash has a place on this list due to its high stakes drama and enduring legacy (at least among Argentine fans)

Maradona’s famous assist to Claudio Cannigia ultimately sealed the game in the 82nd minute but as good as that goal itself is, the tale of the drugged water bottle may just be the story of the game. Brazilian defender Branco claimed that during the match he was handed a water bottle by Argentine support staff that was laced with tranquilisers. Something Maradona himself later alluded to as having been true.

The game is in fact the last time the two sides met in a World Cup and to this day Argentine fans never miss a chance to sing about the goal that put their greatest rivals out of the World Cup. 


Argentina 1 Brazil 4 - Confederations Cup final 2005



(A one sided game, sure, but what a side. Adriano, Ronaldinho and Kaka all shone as Brazil absolutely battered their arch rivals to lift the Confederations Cup)

The confederations cup final of 2005 was not a particularly close affair, indeed, Brazil were four before Argentina could even reply. But it was the performance of the Brazilian side on the day that deserves remembering. Adriano was at his imperious best as he dominated the Argentine defence, scoring twice, the first one of the finest of his career. Elsewhere Ronaldinho was doing his thing dancing all over the pitch and Kaka scored a goal to rival Adriano’s opener. Samba football at its greatest. 


Argentina 2 Brazil 2 (Arg 2-Brazil 4 pens) - 1995 Copa America quarter final



(Brazil had their very own ‘hand of God’ moment against Argentina during the 1995 Copa America. Losing out to your greatest rivals is tough but to lose it like this? Heartbreaking)

An early flurry of goals saw Argentina 2-1 up at the half hour mark before tension took over the game. Argentina defended their lead valiantly until, in the 81st minute, Brazilian forward, Tulio, clearly used his outstretched arm to control a ball into the box before converting to level the tie. 

Somehow neither the referee nor the linesman noticed and the goal was allowed to stand. Perhaps because of the injustice Argentina struggled in the penalty shoot out. After a good start, Diego Simeone and Nestor Fabrri both had weak efforts saved and Edmundo scored the penalty that sent Argentina home.


Words by Andy Gallagher





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