CORDOBA - Argentina and Uruguay renew one
of the world's oldest football rivalries when they clash in the
Copa America quarter-final at Santa Fe's Brigadier Estanislao
Lopez stadium, otherwise known as 'Elephant's Graveyard', on
Whichever team progresses will retain the chance of winning
a record 15th South American championship in the oldest active
international football competition.
The two countries have met more than 170 times in a little
over a century - the last a World Cup qualifier in Montevideo
in October 2009 won 1-0 by Argentina.
"It's a match full of history... the kind of match we [footballers] like," Uruguay's lanky, widely-travelled
34-year-old striker Sebastian "Loco" Abreu told reporters.
Yet this rivalry, known as "El clasico del Rio de la Plata"
(River Plate), only came about due to the quirks of Spanish
colonial history in the Americas.
Under the Spanish, Buenos Aires and Montevideo were two
leading towns in the vice-royalty of the Rio de la Plata but when
the citizens of what is now the capital of Argentina began their
move for independence in 1810, Montevideo got left behind.
About 20 years later, Uruguay also gained independence as
did many of the new nation states of the continent in often
haphazard political divisions.
The British, who boasted the oldest footballing rivalry in
the once regular confrontations between England and Scotland,
then brought the two shores of the River Plate together again
through sport only for soccer to generate another big divide.
The first official meeting between Argentina and Uruguay was
in 1901 and all the names on the team-sheets were British, from
clubs either side of the River Plate estuary founded by the
burgeoning community of Britons doing business in the region.
Gradually, Argentines and Uruguayans of Spanish, Italian and
native origins took over the game, imprinting on it their own
style with subtle differences on either shore.
The Uruguayans developed what is known as "garra charrua", a
fighting spirit akin to the native Charrua tribe that inhabited
the land before the Spanish and Portuguese colonists arrived.
The Argentines had more of a penchant for a short-passing,
attacking game they call "la nuestra" - simply "ours."
Uruguay, on top of the world with two Olympic and two world
titles in the first half of the last century, have regained some
of their past pride by reaching the World Cup semi-finals in
South Africa last year.
Argentina, having lost one Olympic final 2-1 in a replay and
one World Cup final 4-2 to Uruguay, finally got themselves
organised and won two world crowns themselves.
The big match in South America for the better part of half a
century then without doubt became Argentina against Brazil, who
as hosts and holders respectively started the Copa America as
Uruguay, thanks to past and present exploits, may have other
ideas as they bid to kill off the mighty beasts of Argentina in
their own graveyard.
Pardew to report to returning ex-manager
Sub scores to make it three World Cups in a row
Three-year jail sentence a possibility
Principality project faces legal wrangles over exceptional circumstances
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010