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Mauricio talks Argentina-Brazil

12 November 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino has experienced club derbies in Argentina, Spain, France and now England.

But it’s the South American derby between Argentina and Brazil that takes local rivalries to another level.

Arguably the biggest international rivalry of them all, these football giants first met in 1914 and since then, have accounted for seven World Cups and 22 Copa America titles between them. On top of that, football’s debate on ‘who is the greatest’ between Pele and Diego Maradona will rage on for years to come.

The rivalry was increased with legendary meetings in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups. In 1978, the group match named ‘the Battle of Rosario’ ended in a goalless draw as hosts Argentina went on to lift the trophy. Then in 1982, Maradona was sent off as Brazil won 3-1 and the holders were knocked out in Spain.

Now it's Messi againsy Neymar and the latest chapter of this rivalry - including Erik Lamela - will be written in the early hours of Friday morning when the countries meet in World Cup qualifying in Buenos Aires.

It’s a key game as well as neither team has started their World Cup 2018 qualifying process particularly well – Brazil are fifth and Argentina seventh in the group of 10 after two matches so far.

“It’s more than football,” said Mauricio, who played for Argentina against Brazil in the Copa America in 1999.

“It’s a big, big game, a huge rivalry. Argentina and Brazil are always big challengers on the world stage. Also you have Pele, Maradona and historically, the Argentinian and Brazilian players have always been some of the best in the world.

“When I was playing, Brazil won the World Cup (in 2002) and in this game in the Copa America, it was Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, all great players.

“The passion in South America is unbelievable and when you play for your national team you play with your heart, your passion, your emotion. You try to give more than you have in your body.

“It’s incredible how the people push you to run, to play, to be aggressive and the atmosphere can be crazy. When you lose these derbies, it’s like losing to Arsenal here, it’s difficult to accept.

“The world is watching and when you are out there, you have to be ready. Sometimes these games are not only just about football, there is a lot going on that you need to manage.

“It’s always one of the biggest derbies. It’s one to enjoy for the spectators around the world but not for the Argentinian and Brazilian people!”