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Those rare new rivals: from the surprise defeat with China to Curaçao, the 82nd adversary in the history of the National Team


Since 1902 and after 1,029 games, Argentina faced many rivals almost unknown to soccer fans. Argentina played on Thursday at the Monumental for the third time with Panama, the previous two were in 2009 and 2016. This Tuesday it will do so for the first time with Curacao, the Caribbean island that still depends on the Kingdom of the Netherlands. An exotic, random , different rival, or whatever you want to call it. In more than 120 years of history, the National Team played 1,029 games and


played on Thursday at the Monumental for the third time with Panama, the previous two were in 2009 and 2016. This Tuesday it will do so for the first time with Curacao, the Caribbean island that still depends on the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

An exotic,


, different rival, or whatever you want to call it.

In more than 120 years of history, the National Team played 1,029 games and faced 81 different rivals.

Curacao will be 82.

The different, the strange, the rare, always generated an ambiguous sensation in soccer fans.

Accessible Rivals

” has become a commonplace in journalism.

In these times, the explanation of the international agenda has more reasonable arguments.

Europe narrowed the margin with the creation of the Nations League and they compete among themselves;

South Americans try to get meetings in other latitudes to obtain better income;

The Conmebol classic, Argentina-Brazil for a long time, had its last friendly duels in Saudi Arabia, Australia and China.

Among the options, there are Central American, African and Asian rivals.

All cheaper.

In the last 20 years, only three European teams have come to play in our country, only one in the hierarchy,

Spain, which had been crowned world champion in South Africa in 2010


The match was played at the Monumental on September 7, 2010 and

Argentina thrashed 4-1

against a Spanish team that was more focused on continuing to celebrate the world title than on facing the commitment seriously.

Later, Albania (position 74 in the FIFA Ranking at that time), on June 20, 2011, a match that Argentina won 4-0.

And finally Slovenia (47th), on June 7, 2014, in La Plata, as a farewell to the squad that would participate in the World Cup in Brazil.

It was a 2-0 victory with goals from Ricardo Alvarez and Lionel Messi.

Argentina and Spain met in the match called "the final that was not."

Photo Amilcar Orfali

The other rivals were six South Americans (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela), one African (Ghana) and 10 Concacaf teams (twice Mexico and Haiti, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago).

It is known that on this occasion two other members of Concacaf arrive because they have a free schedule, low cachet and, in addition, they play against the world champion team led by Messi.

Even so, Panama, which will play a match for the Concacaf Nations League on Tuesday, decided to come with an alternative team and coach.

Between 1902 and 1927, Argentina faced only South American rivals

: Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru.

In 1928, before participating in the Amsterdam Olympic Games, he played against a European for the first time: 0-0 with Portugal in Lisbon.

Then, on Dutch soil, they thrashed the United States 11-2, Belgium 6-3 and Egypt 6-0, before losing the final to Uruguay.

For the time, Africans were the strangest.

With the advance of world competition, new rivals were added, among them Haiti in Germany 74, perhaps the most exotic of that time.

But a year earlier,

in 1973, Argentina faced an Asian rival for the first time: Israel


The team toured three continents, first they lost 2-0 to Mexico in the DF, then they beat West Germany 3-2 in Munich and finally they traveled to the Middle East.

"Referring to the match, all the visitors agreed that

there are currently no easy teams

and that the confrontation with Israel 'will be as important for us as the previous ones'," reads the Clarín announcement on February


. of 1973. That day, in Tel Aviv, the match ended 1-1.

The second Asian country was Iran, on the occasion of the celebration of 75 years of Real Madrid.

Juan de Biase, Clarín

's special envoy

to the mini-tournament, wrote on March 22, 1977, the day of the announcement: “They come from beating Syria and Saudi Arabia, in both cases as visitors, and losing to Hungary.

His coach confidently declared: "We hope to be in the World Cup in Argentina."

This is all we can seriously say about Iranian football.

For the National Team, apparently,

it should be an easy rival, as long as you don't ask yourself skeptically: are there still any of these?


The truth is that Menotti's team barely drew 1-1 (a goal by Daniel Bertoni) and played a penalty shootout for the first time in history, which they won 4-1, and allowed them to play in the final of the tournament with Real Madrid.

The Argentine performance was poor and De Biase recounted that the great Alfredo Di Stéfano, Argentine and


glory , hastily withdrew when the game was still 1-0 and

he could not believe how badly the National Team was playing


Argentina faced other little-known rivals in the world of football in the 1980s in the Nehru Cup held in India in January 1984. The coach was Carlos Salvador Bilardo, who was raising questions after being eliminated from the Copa América in the phase of groups, which they shared with Ecuador and Brazil, which they beat 1-0 in the first leg in Buenos Aires, something that had not happened since 1970.

Four older teams participated in that tournament, India, China and Poland, as well as Argentina, the Romanian Under 21s and Vasas from Hungary.

Argentina faced the Indians for the first time, whom they beat by a tight 1-0, and the Chinese, who gave the big surprise and won 1-0.

The National Team finished third and the champion was Poland, who beat China 1-0 in the final.

"Surprise defeat against China"

was the title of Clarín's coverage.

And Alberto Fernández, the envoy, began his chronicle from Calcutta like this: “There was a heavy silence in the Argentine dressing room.

Barely whispers, pats on the back of the substitutes towards their teammates, arms hanging to the side of the chairs and lost looks, like a crude image of defeat.

The next day, Eduardo Deluca, leader of Defensores de Belgrano and Julio Grondona's right-hand man, confessed in Indian lands: "I

can't believe we lost to China


After the four experiences of the Asians (one win, two draws and one loss), the National Team faced an African country for the second time only in the debut of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, which they surprisingly lost to Cameroon 1-0.

Between that first match against Egypt in 1928 and the frustrating debut against the Cameroonians, he had once faced the team from the African Football Confederation, who participated in the Brazilian Independence Cup in 1972, whom he beat 2-0 in Aracaju on 11 June 1972.

Claudio Paul Caniggia came on in the second half and fell victim to brutal marking from Cameroon's defenders.

Photo: File

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, Argentina also began to measure itself against new European rivals: Croatia in 1994, Bosnia in 1998, Lithuania in 1999, Serbia and Montenegro in the 2006 World Cup, Belarus in 2008, Slovenia in 2014. and Estonia in 2022.

In the last Asian tours, which generate good income for the AFA coffers, the selected team also faced Hong Kong in 2014 and Singapore in 2017 for the first time, the latter the rival with the worst FIFA Ranking, 172, and whom thrashed 6 to 0. Coach Jorge Sampaoli was encouraged to play the old-fashioned way: 2-3-5, the famous method of the early 20th century.

Lionel Messi's presence was key to playing in Hong Kong in 2014. FP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE

Curaçao grew a lot in the world of soccer.

In 2013 he was 178 and is currently ranked 86 in the Fifa Ranking.

He now joins

"those rare new rivals"

from Argentina.

look also

The Argentine National Team, a shot from Brazil: what does it need to be 1st in the FIFA ranking?

The party of the Argentine National Team continues: the players had a new night of music and celebrations

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-27

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