Argentina Vs England: A Football Rivalry Like No Other

The Argentine culture is synonymous with passion, walking through the streets of Buenos Aires it is almost tangible. The emphatic gestures, the melodic rhythm of their unique dialect and the displays of power, sensuality and vulnerability melting together and unifying the two tango partners. The passion, however, is perhaps never seen in such a pure and addictive form than when it comes to football.

Football for Argentina is more than just a sport, they display a unique commitment to the game; their desire to win is their driving force.

First of all, if you live in this country you breathe football. It’s in the air, every moment of your waking life. When a boy is born here football’s written into his DNA.
— Ricardo Villa, Argentine football coach and former midfielder

Introduced By The British, Made Their Own By The Argentinians

During the latter half of the 19th century, Buenos Aires experiences a huge influx of British expatriates arriving on Argentine soil. As well as putting large scale crop production into action, the English founded banks, developed export trade unions and finally, football.

Glaswegian schoolteacher, Alexander Watson Hutton is the man behind the encouragement of football among the younger generation. He taught the sport at St Andrew’s Scots School in Buenos Aires in the 1880s. He started the first football league in 1891. 

Back in those days, the game was reserved only for the English players which meant from an early start, a determination began to brew among the locals. 

When the English companies first brought this sport here the local people couldn’t play with them. So the way we see it, they have this typical English superiority, but they know they have to play very hard to win against Argentina. Winning against England is like schoolkids beating the teachers.
— Roberto Perfumo, former Argentinian footballer and sports commentator

“Los Ingleses” Receive The Hand Of God

It was June 22 1986, the quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup and the old rivals faced each other in a match that would go down in the history of football. A game that saw Argentina’s Maradona score the “Hand of God” goal as well as the goal voted as “The Goal of The Century”, beating England 2:1. Argentina went on to win the World Cup after beating West Germany in the final.

The fact that Argentinians took away greater satisfaction from Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal precisely because it was so unjust, indicates the level of hunger Argentinians feel towards beating the English.

In 1986, winning that game against England was enough. Winning the World Cup that year was secondary for us. Beating England was our real aim.
— Roberto Perfumo