Boca Juniors, River Plate renew hostilities for continental supremacy
River Plate and Boca Juniors will play eight Superclasicos in 2014. What might sound like a dream to a few masochistic Boca and River fans turned into a full-fledged reality this year, and the Copa Total Sudamericana will bear witness to the following two.
Aside from the Sudamericana clashes, two league matches, one Copa de Oro game, a Two Copa BBVA Banco Frances pairings and a Copa Luis B. Nofal matchup round out the unusual amount of games between the Argentine giants. If 2011, with all its Real Madrid vs. Barcelona battles remains in the memory for fans of the beautiful game, then 2014 will undoubtedly evoke more than a few references to one of the most heated rivalries in sports.
Three years ago, Real Madrid and Barcelona also faced each other eight times, with a Copa del Rey final and the Champions League semifinal remaining as the most titanic and memorable of those games because of the stakes involved. What at first seemed like an exciting prospect turned rather routine for some, with Barcelona and Real seemingly fighting it out not just for supremacy within Spain and Europe, but the soccer world itself.
That being said, the rivalry between River Plate and Boca Juniors might not elicit that feeling of routine that some saw within the El Clasico matches. It is, after all, in fact, not a record-setting amount of games in a year. In 1974, River and Boca locked horns an astounding 11 times. This is the undisputed record in the Argentine clasico, and, likely ranks high when comparing the rest of the world's most passionate derbies.
Back then, Xeneizes and Millonarios faced off in the Copa de Oro, the Torneo Metropolitano (twice), the Torneo Jardin de la Republic, the Torneo Madre de las Ciudades, as well as the Copa Tacita de Plata, the Copa Ciudad de Santa Fe, the Trofeo Liga del Sur, the Torneo Nacional (twice), and hey, why not â in a friendly.
What's possibly most astounding about that particular year was the fact that in a lapse of 27 days, in June, Boca and River faced off five times. An average of one Superclasico roughly every five days. For those hoping the current club leaders could cobble together an excuse or two to keep the Boca-River train going in 2014, there is, sadly, no more room in their respective calendars for an extra match.
It would seem that both teams are making up for lost time in 2011 and 2012, when River Plate endured their year in hell, specifically, the second tier of Argentine football, the Nacional B after being relegated. At first glance, it might seem like an endurance run. From the neutral point of view, it will be absolutely enthralling to see two of the world's biggest teams and most passionate fan bases face off with a major trophy once again in the fold.
The Copa Total Sudamericana will have one of South America's giants in the final just weeks from now. It's up to Argentina's biggest clubs to decide who that will be, exactly.