Be it a clash in the World Cup finals or a domestic under-17 game, Argentina versus Brazil always gets the pulse racing. The two nations line up this weekend in the north of Argentina for a match which holds the key for the hosts making it to South Africa for next year’s World Cup.

 

The two proud countries have enjoyed contrasting fortunes ahead of this clasico. Dunga’s Brazil were crowned Confederations Cup champions a few months ago. Before heading off to South Africa the seleção picked up maximum points in two qualifiers. A 3-0 win over Peru in Porto Alegre was followed by a 4-0 demolition of Uruguay in Montevideo.

 

Diego Maradona was called to take up the reigns for Argentina after previous coach Alfio Basile endured a less than inspiring start to the country’s qualifying campaign.

 

In Diego’s first competitive match Venezuela were dispatched 4-0 in Buenos Aires but this early optimism was dashed with a crushing 6-1 defeat away in La Paz to Bolivia five days later. In the next round of games a nervous looking Argentina edged past Colombia with a single goal in River Plate’s El Monumental before another away defeat. This time a 2-0 reverse away to Ecuador in Quito.

 

With derbies all over the world the formbook goes out of the window and The Battle of the South Americas is no different. After all Brazil were unfancied in the 2007 Copa America but stunned Argentina with a 3-0 win.

As well as upsets these matches have been liberally peppered with all that is good, bad and plain ugly in the game of football.

 

In the first knock round of Italia 90 Argentina took on Brazil in Turin. The clasico coming earlier than expected due to Argentina’s poor showing in the group stage, including the holder’s defeat in the opening game in Cameroon. After the game it was alleged that the Argentine trainers gave the Brazilian Branco a bottle of water laced with tranquilisers while he was down injured.

 

Maradona himself blew the Agen Togel lid …