Why Brazil hate 'arrogant' Argentina
Noisy neighbours revel in hosts' failures after swarming over border, writes Ian Herbert
The video circulating around Argentina has not been lost on the Brazilians, just across the eastern border. It depicts Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain dancing around their World Cup training base with Argentinian fans, singing the new tune on the country's lips.
"Brasil, decime que se siente, tener en su casa a tu papa" (Brazil, tell me how it feels, to be bossed about in your own back yard), begins the song, which develops into a musical excursion around the events of the Italy World Cup in 1990, when a relatively weak Argentinian side blessed with Diego Maradona beat the Brazilians 1-0 in a round of 16 match which they entered without a prayer in Turin.
"Even when years go by..." continues the lyric currently being sung by Argentinians from the hills of Belo Horizonte to the Metro system in Buenos Aires, "...we will never forget that El Diego 'did' you (with a famous nutmeg), El Cani (goalscorer Claudio Caniggia) immunised you. You've been crying ever since Italy up until today. You're going to see Messi. We're going to bring the Cup home. Maradona is better; greater than Pele..."
And if that manifestation of the brash South American neighbour wasn't enough, the Argentinians are swarming over the border and heading for Porto Alegre. A total of 100,000 Argentinians are expected here today at the only World Cup venue reachable by road from their country, where Lionel Messi and team-mates need a point to top their group and book a second-round appointment with Ecuador or Switzerland. The stadium takes fewer than half that number.
The main point of entry is the city of Uruguaniana, which to confuse matters is in Argentina, with some of the notorious hooligan Barra Bravas seeking to break over the Uruguayan border at Liuramento. There are serious security ramifications.
For the first time in this World Cup, 150 military policemen will be billeted inside the stadium, to supplement the stewards. Tonight, there will be the question of where these people will be accommodated. A campsite has been thrown together at the Parque Maminia – usually reserved for the annual celebration of how this region of Rio Grande do Sul once fought for independence from Brazil.
But the invasion has also sharpened Brazilian thoughts about Argentina, which they would rather have kept out of mind until next month, given that the two titans of South America cannot meet each other in this competition before its final.
The Brazilian media characterises the fight in straightforward terms – Messi v Neymar, Maradona v Pele – though it is actually far more complicated and interesting than that.
The Brazilians might consider the Argentinians to have all the qualities of a wasp but writer and 'Independent' columnist Alex Bellos, author of the brilliant 'Futebol', subscribes to the view that Brazilians are not all that interested in that nation. This country's people look to Miami and Paris, rather than Buenos Aires. Argentina, with their inferior football history, have a narrower perspective. They just want to put one over on their neighbours.
The picture is even more complicated here in the southerly Rio Grande do Sol, which in some ways is Argentinian by any other name.
The region shares with Argentina and Uruguay some of the same vast grasslands which gave birth to the gaucho cowboy. The gaucho, most commonly associated with Argentina, is the local symbol, just like theirs. The players of this colder, harsher corner of the vast Brazilian nation are even known as "gaucho" players – Ronaldinho was Ronaldinho Gaucho when he played at Gremio. Brazilians love a gaucho in their team because it is thought they are tougher, run harder and with more heart and passion than those from the heart of Brazil. Luis Felipe Scolari, a son of Porto Alegre, is the classic gruff, grumpy gaucho. There is a Uruguayan word for the character: Raca: "For the blood". So it hardly feels like Brazil at all.
Messi creates another layer of complication. Brazilians just can't abhor him like they did Maradona, because they feel he has a touch of Brazilian about him.
Neither nation has grounds for supreme confidence because both remain heavily dependent on their single star commodity. Brazil breathed a collectively sigh of relief on Monday when theirs, Neymar, delivered them their first convincing win. "E que a historia se repita!" (May history repeat itself) proclaimed the local 'Diario Gaucho' paper here, in reference to Brazil's three previous World Cup wins over their second-round opponents, Chile. But these first two weeks have not been emphatic.
For his part, Argentina manager Alex Sabella found his press conference dominated again last night by the same questions about his team's Messi dependency. He issued no denials. "We try to reduce this dependence but you are always dependent on a player like that," he said.
It is another symptom of the Argentinian obsession with Brazil that they always proclaim their star man is the greater of these two nations' stand-out stars at Barcelona.
For the time being, the Argentinians are making the most of what is their most emphatic annexation since Goose Green. The World Cup-winning teams from 1978 and '86 are also expected in the stadium here today. (© Independent News Service)
Brazil Baiting – how argentina taunt neighbours
Brasil, Decime que se siente
(Translation): Brazil, tell me how it feels
Tener en casa a tu papa
To be bossed about in your own back yard (Literally: To have your dad at home)
Seguro que aunque pasen los anos
It's sure that even when years go by
Nunca lo vamos a olvidar
We will never forget
Que el diego te gambeteo
That El Diego 'did' you (with a trick/nutmeg; reference to Italia 90)
El cani te vacuno
El Cani (Claudio Caniggia) immunised you (reference to Italia 90)
Estas llorando desde Italia hasta hoy
You've been crying since Italy up until today
A Messi lo vas a ver
You're going to see Messi
La Copa nos va a traer
We're going to bring the cup home
Maradona es mas grande que Pele
Maradona is better/greater than Pele
NIGERIA V ARGENTINA, LIVE, RTE 2 & UTV, 5.00pm
BOSNIA V IRAN, LIVE, ITV4, 5.00pm