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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brazil v. Argentina: A Brief World Cup History

Brazil and Argentina have played in the World Cup in 1978, 1982 and 1990. 1978 featured a tense, goalless draw dubbed “The Battle of Rosario” that Argentina enjoyed en route to World Cup glory on home soil. Four years later, in Spain in 1982, Brazil defeated Argentina 3-1. Tele Santana’s Brazilian team considered Argentina their most formidable opponent en route to the trophy, knowing full well that the Albiceleste had brought a young player to Spain named Diego Maradona. But the match was far easier for Brazil than originally envisioned. Zico scored the first goal, Serginho the second and Junior the third before Argentina’s Diaz scored in the closing minutes. But eight years later, it was Argentina’s turn to claim victory at the World Cup with a 1-0 defeat of Brazil in Turin. Brazil dominated the first 80 minutes of the match, deploying dangerous shots on goal from Careca, Dunga and Alemao, in addition to commanding the lion’s share of possession. In the second half, Careca, Valdo and Alemao continued to press the attack on Goycochea’s goal, but to no avail. In the 80th minute, a moment of magic from Maradona sealed the victory for Argentina. Maradona ran through a throng of Brazilian defenders toward the right flank before providing a left diagonal through ball to Claudio Caniggia, who promptly beat goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel. The match subsequently became famous for the “holy water scandal” because Brazilian right back Branco claimed that he had been given a water bottle laced with tranquilizers during the game. Branco had been central to the marking of Maradona and, amidst his lethargy, Maradona was able to break free and dish the killer pass to Caniggia. Years later Maradona confessed the truth of Branco’s allegations on Argentina television, but Argentina coach Carlos Bilardo denied the incident completely.

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