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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Tim Vickery column
By Tim Vickery
South American football reporter

Emirates stadium
The Emirates Stadium will be host to a unique occasion

The rivalry between Argentina and Brazil is a bit different from that between, say, England and Germany.

There is no history of warfare between the two nations. The middle classes of both countries tend to visit each other, but the age of mass tourism has not reached South America.

The majority of Brazilians have never even spoken to an Argentine and vice versa. It is basically a footballing rivalry, and none the worse for it.

Being at an Argentina-Brazil match means getting in touch with the finest that the sport has ever produced - and now they are bringing their rivalry and their stars to London.

Sunday's showdown at Arsenal's new stadium makes it very clear that both these teams have now become global brands.

Brazil's relationship with multinational sponsors is well known, and has made a huge difference in terms of the team's worldwide profile.

Back in 1994, the average English fan would have struggled to recall many of the World Cup winning side.

But by France '98 even some of the substitutes were household names.

Now Argentina have signed a deal with Russian-based company which will help set up the team's friendlies over the next five years.

An obvious consequence is that the bulk of the games will be staged in locations where those putting up the money receive the maximum return on their investment - hence the fact that South America's biggest derby is taking place in Ashburton Grove rather than Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo.

It is good news for the London public, but not so encouraging for the South American supporters.

They have reconciled themselves to losing their best players to the European club game.

Dunga
Dunga will be in charge of Brazil

They accept that their national teams will travel to take on top European sides. Now they have to swallow the fact that the team is taking on the local rivals on the other side of the Atlantic.

Sunday's game fits snugly into Fifa's international calendar but comes at a strange time from a South American point of view.

The continent's teams have no competitive matches until the Copa America next June.

This, then, is a moment of transition, when some of South America's teams have caretaker coaches while some have new coaches - Argentina's Alfio Basile doesn't officially take over until mid-September.

Even so, the event should fully justify the full house it is likely to draw to the Emirates Stadium.

As well as the exciting attacking talent Argentina displayed in the World Cup they also look set to give a debut to wonderfully talented 18-year-old Sergio Aguero, who has been in excellent pre-season form with his new club, Atletico Madrid.

Brazil, meanwhile, are trying to find their way after the World Cup disappointment.

Rather like Roy Keane taking over at Sunderland, the appointment of the inexperienced Dunga to coach the team is fascinating.

This is his second match in charge. On the evidence of the recent 1-1 draw with Norway there will be changes from the essentially counter-attacking approach of the Germany 2006 'Magic Quartet' side.

Instead, rather like the USA '94 team which he captained, Dunga appears to be placing more emphasis on patient possession.

Will his Brazil be able to do it against the best passing side on the planet?

There is plenty to intrigue and excite, then, as the global city plays host to the masters of the world game.

  • Tim Vickery takes part in Up All Night's World Football phone-in every Saturday morning at 0230 BST on BBC Radio Five Live



  • SEE ALSO
    Tim Vickery column
    20 Aug 06 |  World Football


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