Brazil-Argentina rivalry heats up ahead of WCup

Published Jun. 11, 2010 1:33 p.m. ET

The rivalry between Brazil and Argentina is already at full steam at the World Cup.

A potential match between the South American powerhouses is in the far distance, but players from both teams have already started exchanging taunts.

When told that Diego Maradona said his Argentina team is a Rolls Royce driven by Lionel Messi, Luis Fabiano compared Brazil to an aircraft.

``It's a jet, a low-flying jet,'' Luis Fabiano said Friday. ``For sure we will surprise a lot of people out there.''

Luis Fabiano also dismissed reported comments by Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron that if joy alone won matches, the Brazilians would win titles every time.

``Our happiness comes from the inside,'' Luis Fabiano said. ``If they are not happy, it's their problem. Brazil is a country of joy, samba, carnival. We bring this happiness to our work. Others are more bitter with life, but that's how it goes.''

Brazil has won five World Cup titles and Argentina two, and they enjoy an intense rivalry in football and other areas of society.


On Thursday, Brazil defender Daniel Alves hinted Barcelona teammate Messi doesn't play as well for Argentina as he does with the Spanish club because of the lower quality of players in the Argentine squad.

He said Messi struggles with his national team because he doesn't receive the same support that he gets at his club, and that ``there is no comparison'' between the Barcelona and Argentina squads.

The rivalry surfaced a couple a days ago when an Argentine journalist asked Kaka why Brazil wasn't playing with flair recently.

``When we beat Argentina 3-1 in Rosario it was beautiful,'' Kaka said, reminding the journalist about Brazil's victory in a World Cup qualifier last year. ``It was a beautiful performance for us.''

Brazil defender Juan tried to temper the heightening pre-World Cup rivalry.

``Luis Fabiano was talking after a joke by Maradona,'' Juan said. ``Brazil and Argentina are two football teams.''

The tournament draw means the teams can't clash on the field until the semifinals or final.

Brazil is in Group G along with North Korea, the Ivory Coast and Portugal. It will start against North Korea on Tuesday. Argentina plays its Group B opener against Nigeria on Saturday. It then faces South Korea and Greece.