Today is arguably the biggest game in international football, El Superclasico.
No, we’re not talking Real Madrd v Barca...that’s next weekend(and also its known as El Clasico, no super there)
We are referring to Brazil vs Argentina. The Battle of the Americas (well south at least... not that the north has anything to compare)
Both countries hold seven world cups between them and have been first or second in more than half the world cup tournaments played. In Pele, Maradona, Di Stefano and Messi they arguably boast four of the five most talented players of all time. You would have to tell us who would be fifth but those four definitely have a good chance of being in the top five.
These two powerhouses of international football clash this evening in Buenos Aires in a World Cup Qualifier. Currently, after two rounds of qualifying the South American giants are both struggling having started the campaign bereft of their talismanic (Barca) superstars in the form of Neymar and Messi. Neymar was serving a suspension stemming from a red card in last summer’s Copa America while Messi has been recuperating from a knee ligament damage sustained in a La Liga on September 26.
Neymar however, is back for the big clash and his presence automatically makes Brazil favourites. The brazilan seleceao have done nothing in his absence to refute claims that they are a one man side. Despite his being a forward, Neymar’s loss was seen as key to the 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals last year as well as Brazil’s inability to progress in the Copa America this year. So far the team has looked unimaginative and unpenetrative in his absence but with Neymar back and an in-form Douglas Costa and Willians supporting, Brazil hopes to bring some magic back to their play tonight.
Argentina on the other hand are still Messi-less and have only one point after two world cup qualification games. To add to their woes, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez are also out. Messi has been blamed in the past for not performing for his country as he does for Bacelona, but his absence has shown how important he is to argentine hopes as they have looked nothing like World Cup and Copa America finalists without him.
Fortunately, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi have recoverd from poor Copa America performances and are showing good form with their clubs. These three are expected to provide the fire-power in front of an expectant crowd in Buenos Aires who will tolerate nothing less than an Argentine victory.
These two countries are very much supported locally and many fans will be looking to see how the teams progress as they try to recover from difficult starts. Who will win tonight, T&T? Will Neymar pull Brazil back on track or will home advantage be enough to motivate injury ravaged Argentina?
The game kicks off at 8pm local time and can be seen locally in your favourite sports bar.