Sun 30 Oct
Watching football in ARGENTINA, the inside story
Watching Argentine football is what you would call an ‘experience’. Think UK in the 80’s. It’s definitely an old school atmosphere that extremely hostile whilst feeling pretty safe at the same time. If you are not looking for trouble and don’t go ‘blinged’ up to the max you should be fine. We heard all sorts of scare stories but after 50 something matches, at the time of writing, we’ve not seen any bother. If you are after a quiet life and just want to take in the spectacle then go in the seats down the sides, dont go in the 'Popular' behind the goal as it can get a bit rough in there. We’ve ended up on the floor with others on top a few times after goals go in.
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Buenos Aires is a football fans heaven with over 25 professional clubs based in Buenos Aires. It’s remarkable that so many clubs get the big attendances when so close together. The epitome of this is exemplified in how close Independiente are to Racing, no more than 150 metres separate their stadiums.
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Whats the football like
To be honest it's not the best quality footie. Most decent players are shipped to Europe in their teens leaving behind a mixed bag of players, usually Argentines mixed with all sorts of differing nationalities from South and Central America. There is usually a sprinkling of thirty something quality Argentine players who've returned home to see out their careers, Riquelme at Boca at Veron at Estudientes were the standouts when we were there in 2001/ 12.
What are the fans like
Each team has it’s own Barras Bravas. These guys are usually responsible for any crowd violence, however often trouble is not just about football. Barras Bravas are also known to be intertwined within the local mafioso, peddling illicit substances in the area around the ground.
Saying that football violence is a rarity within football grounds as great care is now taken to separate the fans. Home fans are often kept behind for over half an hour whilst the vistors are herded into coaches, or just away from the area first, after the game has finished.
The Barras Bravas are more often that not located behind one of the goals, usually where all the flags are strewn up the terracing. The threat of violence aside and inside the ground the feeling is very much fiesta. In the Popular part of the ground everyone is dancing and singing for much of the game, at Boca itd singing and dancing for the full game and quite often the same at other grounds.
Generally there is no steward interference anywhere. There is a police presence but they ‘don’t see' such things as smoking marijuana on the terraces, which most of the Popular participates in.
What are the stadiums like
The stadiums in Argentina (locally known as “La Cancha”) generally have a very 70’s/ 80’s in The UK feel to them. The Copa America was held in Argentina in 2011. Very few matches were in Buenos Aires as the AFA wanted to take football to the provinces and so Buenos Aires teams missed out on funding of refurbishment on their stadia. Only La Plata, home of Estudientes, was built from scratch for the tournament. Before the Copa, the last major tournament to be held in Argentina was the 1978 World Cup finals, which Argentina won at Rivers Estadio Monumental in front of nearly 72,000 fans (fans = “hinchas”, pronounced “inchas”).
We love a lot of the stadiums in Argentina as they have a sense of history and a raw edge to their atmospheres which always brings excitement to a game.
as they have a very
searches, large police presence at all ground with some very useful looking artilery with them
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Boca, Huracan, River, Independiente, Racing
- depending on which team it is, sometimes tickets can be bought at the ticket office up until the start of the game
- most tickets go on sale 2 days before
- where to get tickets and if you can get around to the right spot - eg germany you can ge round everywhere
- use BA Conexions to get the tickets for you.
Where to stand
2 choices la Plata or Popular
Pics x 2, one of popular and 1 x plata
Populars are the stands behind the goals, usually where the Barras Bravas stand and sing with their bands. We’ve been warned by lots of people not to go in there but so far, after around 35 matches as we write this we’ve not had any problems. Indeed if a mosh pit style 90 minute rish is what you are after (and miss) then get yours in the Popular. Right behind the goal are the BB’s so don’t take the piss and try and make friends, but go slightly to either side and you’ll be fine but still be in amongst it.
The stands down the sides. genrally where Parents and kinds go.
Away supporters known locally as “Visitante”
Argentines travel for their football and they love a football fiesta. You have to see in person the numbers that attend World Cups all over the world and the same goes for club football. Quite often the away end is sold out. You are officially required to buy the tickets from the “Visitante” a couple of days before but oten, as with other countries jjst asking around the visiters enterance can gain you sucessfull entry. As with other countries the visiting fans end can have the best atmosphere. Saying that it’s great in the home teams popular.
”Visitante” leave first at the end of the game. Home supporters have to wait 30 minutes until they disperse.
Two good websites to check
Ole: http://www.ole.com.ar/ the main football site the Argentine fans use
AFA: http://www.afa.org.ar/ The Argentine Football Association site.
<Links to teams on FC site and write about each classico>
Boca v River
The numero uno classico, known as the Super Classico is Boca Juniors versus River Plate. . See it at Boca’s more atmospheric ground. Boca are the working mans club whereas River are known as “Los Millonarios” have higher pretensions. Ironically River went down to Prmera B in 2011.
Racing v Independiente
Huracan v San Lorenzo
Colon v Union
Boca v River
Getting around to and from
If you are new to the city then we would definitely recommend a taxi. Taxis are one of the few things that really cheap in Argentina thee days.
Alternatives are to use the subway or more conveniently if you can master the bus system. The ‘Bondi’s” as they are known locally, go everywhere and are very comfortable. The local A-Z booklet is called the Guilet and also includes all the buses and routes taken, it’s actually one of the more organised systems you’ll find in Argentina.
What to say in a taxi to get to the ground
“La cancha, Boca Juniors (or other team name) por favor.” “La Cancha” is the word used by Argentinians for stadium, not Estadio or other tha is common in spanish language - they have a mond of their own Argentinians.
Food at ground
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