If you can only watch one soccer game this weekend, by all means, watch Man Utd v. Chelsea. But if you can catch two games on Sunday, don’t miss Boca Juniors visiting River Plate (GolTV, 2:30 p.m.). You’ve undoubtedly heard of this epic derby which Wikipedia records as the Superclásico (ahead of that star-bloated affair in Spain) and one of the fiercest rivalries in all of soccer. It was famously featured at #1 in The Observer’s list of the 50 sporting things you must do before you die. Then there’s the fact that Sunday’s edition is extra special because it’s the first official meeting of these two clubs in over a year (more on that below the jump). Continue reading
Gesundheit! We’re headed to Brazil today for Sunday’s classico between two giants from Rio de Janeiro: Flamengo and Fluminense. The Fla-Flu derby dates back to 1912, and the matches have been played at the gigantic Maracaná stadium going back decades. Back in the day, fans would pack out the stadium in massive numbers. The record attendance was over 194,000 in 1963, though only 177,000 tickets were sold (good ol’ South America). Flamengo and Fluminense frequently dispute the final of the Campeonato Carioca, which is the regional cup for the Rio region (Brazil has a lot of regional tournaments). Continue reading
This isn’t a historic derby. It’s not a neighborhood derby. It’s barely a crosstown derby. So why am I bothering you with it? Because over the last decade or two, the rivalry between Argentina’s Vélez Sársfield (“the Small Fort”) and San Lorenzo (“the Crows”) has escalated to the point of turning it into a modern clásico. There’s no love lost between these two clubs. Check this out if you’re curious. So how did this rivalry become so heated when there’s no typical connections between the two?
For starters, both clubs have lost their neighborhood rivals to relegation. San Lorenzo’s derby rival, Huracán, only occasionally shows up in the top flight for a season or two, then promptly goes back down when the money dries up. Vélez has a historic rivalry with a club called Ferro Carril Oeste (“Western Railroad”), which hasn’t had a season in Primera in more than a decade. Meanwhile, both Vélez and San Lorenzo have been trying to position themselves as “big” clubs in Argentina, behind traditional giants like Boca, River, Independiente, and Racing. But to be a “big” club, you have to have a “big” derby. Continue reading
O Derby is one name for the Derby Paulista, the second most important classico in Brazil. This the biggest rivalry for the megacity of Sao Paulo, and pits reigning South American champions Corinthians against Palmeiras. I already mentioned Corinthians in a previous Know Thy Classics post, so I won’t talk about them much, but Palmeiras is a club you ought to know about. Continue reading
Clearly, the fixture gods of South American footie care not for opening weekend of the English Premier League, much to my chagrin. Instead of covering one clásico for you this week, I’ve got to run down three. So find a comfy chair, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in. We’re headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil, first. Continue reading
Time to expand your knowledge of South American clásicos a bit more. This week we’re heading to hot, humid Guayaquil, Ecuador. Although the Ecuadorian league is perhaps not the most prestigious in South America, some of the bigger clubs do occasionally find success in continental cups (LDU “Liga” Quito being the shining example). This Sunday, the league features its biggest rivalry: El Clásico del Astillero (the Shipyard Derby), Barcelona SC v Emelec. Continue reading
Paraguay might as well be a distant planet for most of us, but despite being a landlocked, oft-forgotten country in the middle of South America, they play some pretty good footie there. Soccer’s history in Paraguay goes back nearly as far as anywhere else on the continent and boasts some of its most successful clubs (and some amazing players, too).
The biggest derby in Paraguay is the Súperclásico between Cerro Porteño and Olimpia, from the capital city of Asunción. The two clubs meet for the 397th time this Sunday. Let’s dig in. Continue reading
Hey, I’m back with a second edition of Know Thy Classics, and even though most of us are probably catching Olympic fever right now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t alert you to another great South American derby. This one isn’t the biggest derby in Colombia, but it’s the main clásico for the capital city of Bogotá: Millonarios v. Independiente Santa Fe.
A lot of South American leagues seem to be frontloading their league fixtures with derbies, perhaps to generate interest early, and Colombia is no different. These two rivals square off in Week 1 of the Liga Postobón (which is a soft drink brand, in case you’re wondering) on Sunday night. Continue reading
Oh, hi! Did you know some South American leagues keep on playing right through these “dead” months when European clubs are on break, shuffling their rosters and whatnot? Well they do, and that caught me off guard as I was preparing to start a new semiregular series in the next month or so featuring the continent’s biggest rivalries. Your traditional club derbies, which in South America are known as clásicos (or classicos, if you’re Brazilian).
Rather than do an exhaustive (and exhausting) weekly league rundown, I plan to pop in here and there to alert you to the big games. The ones where fans get rowdy and tensions are extra high on the pitch. With any luck, you might get a chance to watch some of these. But not the one I’m featuring today, because it was played on Saturday. Continue reading