The World Cup owes the planet soccer an Argentina-Brazil final, the maximum possible classic of this sport.

There is nothing like it, not even close. By category, history and rivalry. They’ve been messing around for 109 years. Neither Germany-France, nor Spain-Italy, nor England against any of them would generate the universal expectation of the South American duel. It would be a train wreck that would break all sports audience records. And beyond sport too. Eight world titles between the two and 13 finals played. Crazy.

He was close to meeting in the semifinals in Qatar 2022, unfortunately Brazil found himself around the corner with an unexpected executioner, Croatia. It would have been spectacular to see them, although nothing will resemble a final. Hopefully the 2026 World Cup will give us that gift. However, as a journalistic game we can make an imaginary match between the ideal historical eleven of Brazil and its pair from Argentina. Two machines.

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Would Brazil or Argentina win?

Between 1914 and 1956 Argentina beat him continuously, until in ’57 a boy Pelé appeared and ran out of sweets. The wrestling became stick and stick. In the ’90s it became uneven with the rise of Rivaldo, Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Kaká, Cafú… Too many cracks together. And in recent times he returned to match the light blue and white. The record now stands at 42 wins for Brazil, 41 for Argentina. Neither allows the other to slip away.

The choice of players is a customer’s choice. In our opinion, Argentina should go with Fillol or Dibu Martínez in goal; Cuti Romero marking the right wing, Ruggeri and Passarella in the rear and Olarticoechea marking the other line. Burruchaga, Redondo and Maradona in the middle; Messi, Di Stéfano and Kempes up. A 4-3-3 but with Maradona also in an offensive attitude. Batistuta, Caniggia, Sívori, Houseman, Bochini to the bench. And the coach: Bilardo, Menotti…? Long, long before, Scaloni. To begin with, Scaloni is not afraid of Brazil.

Brazil would enlist Marcos on the fence; in charge of the right wing Dani Alves (Cafú had more back and forth, Alves more football in the head and feet); Aldair and Luis Pereira in the background, Roberto Carlos going up the left lane. Gerson and Falcão in midfield, Garrincha, Zico, Pelé and Ronaldinho in attack. The traditional Brazilian system: 4-2-4. And this would be a waste: Jairzinho, Tostão, Rivelino, Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Junior and a dozen more monsters sitting next to coach Telé Santana on the side of the field.

Brazil’s squad list is much richer and more extensive. Of course, he enters the field once and there Argentina equalizes. The only sure thing is that no other selection could line up as many artists as these two. If Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Holland and England, even Hungary, came together, perhaps they would not be able to compose a steamroller like these. On the other hand, if Argentina and Brazil were to combine, the whole of Europe would not have even a remote chance of victory. There, looking back from today, we realize the abundance of South American artists and we are proud.

clash of styles

Messi’s last failure with his was in the 2019 Copa América. They fell 2-0 in the semifinals with Brazil, but Argentina’s game never finished convincing.

To boot, they are two different styles. Nice game and forcefulness Brazil, personality and good football Argentina.

Archer for archer, the Albiceleste wins, Fillol and Dibu Martínez are more than Taffarel, Leão, Félix, Julio César, Dida, Alisson… The country of carnival has not been a land of archers. The best Brazilian goal-scorer that this chronicler saw was Marcos, the discreet but very confident Palmeiras goalkeeper who Felipão Scolari, who knew him from being a multi-champion with Verdão, took him to the World Cup in Germany and was decisive in winning the title. In efficiency, Marcos is not far from Fillol or Dibu, in transmission of courage, these two have an advantage.

Brazil would prevail on both bands, whose full-backs have been the best in world football. Example: on the left, the Verdeamarilla has had Nilton Santos, Francisco Marinho (fabulous), Junior, Branco, Marcelo… Any of them would be the best left-handed marker of all time of at least 200 teams. And on the right, another golden list: Cafú, Carlos Alberto, Leandro, Josimar, Paulo Roberto, spectacular climbers for their tip.

Argentina would either have Cristian Romero, who is not even a full-back, but he is good at that sector, he has advance, speed, an extraordinary sense of branding and terrible rigor. The left should be closed by Vasco Olarticoechea, not a born winger either, however a player with moving blood, with a good intuition to remove, but especially with a heart of gold, he was never defeated, always smiling, a swollen chest, a soldier for all the battles. The Canarinha full-backs outclass the gauchos, but they have more brand instinct.

In the cave (an outdated term, but a beautiful one, let us exhume it), Ruggeri and Passarella present passing game, temperament and defensive determination. Aldair and Luis Pereira, quality and a clean start, two talents that could have been offensive midfielders of such quality that they possessed. Luis Pereira did not take the ball from you, he took it from you. Defensively, in Brazil elegance and projection stand out, in Argentina, firmness and security.

In the central strip, he steals Brazil with two geniuses: Gerson, the loudest point guard, distributor and shooter, with an exceptional gift of command (“He was our leader on the field,” says Tostão), and at his side Paulo Roberto Falcão, the Beckenbauer of the midfield, capable of rising and scoring twelve or thirteen goals per season. They would try to oppose Redondo, the Argentine Falcão, a midfielder without a goal although luxurious, exuberant and with a good mentality, and Burruchaga, a complete midfielder: technique, enormous use, speed and goal. Burru has not been known to miss a goal. Multifunctional, too.

Ahead, a constellation of monsters. It is difficult to say who would prevail in that line because the four of each team are phenomenal. In both cases, it is worth thinking about what the defenses could do against big rivals. We can imagine the walls that Pelé and Zico could build, two celestial short-players, but in front of them would also be Maradona and Messi, who would make real disasters with the Brazilian rearguard. Garrincha and Ronaldinho at the extremes on one side, the indomitable character of Di Stéfano and Kempes on the other. Obviously there are those who would be shocked to see so many figures of attack meetings. «And who scores…?» The one who wants to do it. Most will want to play and attack. Which of the two would seize the ball…? Impossible to answer.

Who would win in this confrontation…? Difficult to determine. We’re not just talking about playing nicely, which I’d be sure of, but about thrashing and courage. What is certain is that the two, upon recovering the ball, would go forward due to a matter of the innate vocation of the actors. It is assumed that Brazil will be more persistent in attack and more inclined to take care of the casemate, but the statistics agree with this assessment. The albiceleste quartet has 2,018 goals (794 Messi, 523 Di Stéfano, 354 Kempes, 345 Maradona), the Brazilian 1,798 (765 Pelé, 523 Zico, 395 Ronaldinho, 115 Garrincha). Between the two forwards there are 3,814 goals, it seems like science fiction. It is the classic of the irmaos. If it really happened, the world would explode.

JORGE BARRAZA
SPECIAL FOR THE WEATHER

In networks: @JorgeBarrazaOK

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