From: Victoria Barrett Date: 3/09/2001 Subject: Brazil v. Argentina - PREVIEW This is it. This might be the mother of all national derbies. At least for the parties concerned and their citizenry, there is no match more hotly contested than this one. Insane, bitter, dramatic, everything a football match wishes for in style, tenacity and animus is available to the fan, contained in just three words that sets the football world on fire: Brazil versus Argentina. The chiaroscuro of Maradona versus the magical realism of Pele. The jogo bonito pitted against the garra of the Pampas. There is an intensity here that resembles war and mimics hatred, but often dissolves into mutual if reserved admiration. No calumet of war after the match for Brazil or Argentina, however. The rivalry exists only to continue. 5 September 2001: Imagine yourself in Buenos Aires having just flown in for the game. What to expect in this mock-European city? The widest avenue in the world for one. So large, the Avenida Nueve de Julio takes three policemen placed strategically to direct the flow of pedestrians, often allotted up to five minutes to cross it. Or the Recoleta district, the jewel in the Porteno crown. At times you feel the rhythms of the Recoleta are Roman, no Parisian, no you swear you are in New York, with exquisitely elegant men and women strolling down its fragrant boulevards in search of that perfect Hermes scarf. A stop at the Cafe Tortoni and you are transported to Vienna. This is another town that takes its cafecito seriously. No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without a linger in La Boca's Calle Caminito, the birthplace of the tango. More Italian-sounds emanate from its populace than you can hope to hear in Naples. Its deep working class roots envelope you, where every armazen or ferreteria is painted a vibrant hue, giving it more childlike gayety than any auto repair shop should have a right to. They say that "half plus one" of Argentina is comprised of Boca Junior supporters, and the briefest of visits to La Boca confirms why. It's difficult to argue with authenticity. A day well-spent strolling its lanes, and well-satiated with delicious parrilla transforms itself into match-time, the hour of football reckoning. As you are driven to the Monumental, you notice the Avenida Nueve de Julio, so teeming with humanity but an hour before, is completely vacant, with not even those three policemen to guard its dangerous crossings anymore. What did you expect, after all? Brasil contra Argentina has begun.