One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports is the soccer rivalry between Argentina and Brazil. It extends beyond the reach of international competition and finds most of its battles fought in the South American Copa Libertadores tournament, where Argentina has a surprising advantage.
Out of the 12 finals that have been played between the two countries (this year’s being the 13th), Argentina has won nine and Brazil only three. Here, we take a look at those finals and Boca’s role in its country’s dominant history.
Brazil got the early advantage with the help of Santos and Brazil, which defeated Boca in the 1963 final with wins on both legs 3-2 and 2-1.
Estudiantes would avenge Argentina in the 1968 final with Palmeiras, which it won 2-1 in a playoff. It would be the beginning of one of the greatest runs in Libertadores history, as Estudiantes won three-straight titles.
Argentina would get the edge in the series when Independiente defeated Sao Paolo in a playoff in the 1974 Libertadores. Sao Paolo was another Brazilian victim to a great team, as Independiente would become the only team to win four straight Libertadores titles.
Brazil would get its revenge as the series was again leveled in 1976, as Cruzeiro defeated River Plate in a playoff 2-1 after the teams were tied 2-2 after the first two legs.
It would be River Plate’s biggest rival, Boca Juniors, that would avenge it in 1977, as it won its first Libertadores title against Cruzeiro (5-4 in a penalty shootout). It would be the first of two straight titles for the Argentine club.
The Argentine dominance began to stretch in 1984 when Independiente won its last Libertadores title against Gremio 3-1 on points after winning the first leg 1-0 and drawing the second 0-0.
In 1992, Sao Paolo got Brazil its last victory against Argentina in a final, defeating Newell’s Old Boys 3-2 in a penalty shootout.
In 1994, Velez Sarsfield would end Sao Paolo’s dreams of a third-straight title in the tournament with a 5-3 win in the penalty shootouts after a 1-1 tie in the first two legs of the final.
In 2000, Boca Juniors began to exert its dominance of the Brazilians with a 4-2 win in a penalty shootout in Brazil against Palmeiras — after tying 2-2 in aggregate over the two legs.
Boca would again defeat the Brazilians at home in 2003, when it won the Copa Libertadores title with a 3-1 victory on Santos’ home soil on its way to a 5-1 rout of the Brazilian team.
The Brazilian nightmare against Boca Juniors continued in 2007 when the Argentines defeated Gremio in the final with another resounding victory (this time 5-0).
The last meeting between the two countries came in 2009 when Estudiantes defeated Cruzeiro 2-1 in the final with another win on Brazilian soil.
While Brazil’s record against Argentina in the finals is 3-9, it is 10-4 against all other countries in the competition.
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