Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers. Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers. These American rivalries have nothing on Argentina and Brazil. Argentinian Hernan Crespo said the Argentina team should be whisked out of Brazil by helicopters as soon as possible if they win the World Cup.
“If Argentina wins the World Cup in Brazil, I advise them to have a helicopter nearby because they’re going to get killed!” he said. “It would be beautiful. Argentina’s a great team but it’s been a while since they have made it to the semi-finals.”
Crespo might be half serious. Brazil added more security on their borders because of intense Argentina fans known as “barras bravas.” The border guards own a list of over 2,000 names from this group and they hope to stop them at the border. Brazil expects over 50,000 Argentina fans to attend the tournament.
Brazil is just as passionate about soccer. From USA Today:
The most jarring headline came when an amateur soccer match turned ugly in Pio XII, Maranhão, a rural city in northern Brazil. The referee stabbed a player–who later died–when he refused to leave the field. Angry fans stormed the field, stoned the referee to death, decapitated him and placed his head on a stick. Brazilians did not dismiss the incident, but said a gruesome crime in a remote part of the country should not be seen as representative of security in the major cities.
Which country had the most soccer-related deaths in 2013? Brazil. “A record 30 people died in soccer-related violence last year in Brazil, the highest in the world after Argentina and Italy, according to data compiled by Brazilian researcher Mauricio Murad,” Reuters India reports.
Argentina last won the World Cup in 1986 when Diego Maradona lifted the team to victory and have not reached the semifinals in 24 years. Crespo really thinks Argentina has what it takes to win it against arch rival Brazil behind himself and Lionel Messi.
“We should understand that we’re a very good team, that we have a chance but that we’ve only won two World Cups,” he continued. Crespo cannot forget the 2002 World Cup. Argentina did not make it past the group stage at the tournament. David Beckham scored the only goal for England when they beat Argentina 1-0.
“There’s no doubt about it, because we had the team to be world champions,” said Crespo. “We had young players, great players, everything. It was terrible. Out of the three World Cups I played in [1998, 2002 and 2006], the best team was the one that got eliminated the earliest .”