Association football is the most popular sport in the Argentine Republic and part of the culture in Argentina. It is the one with the most players (2,658,811 total, 331,811 of which are registered and 2,327,000 unregistered; with 3,377 clubs and 37,161 officials, all according to FIFA) and is the most popular recreational sport, played from childhood into old age. The percentage of Argentines that declare allegiance to an Argentine football club is about 90%.
Football was introduced to Argentina in the later half of the 19th century by the British immigrants in Buenos Aires. The first Argentine league was contested in 1891, making it the fifth-oldest recognised league of a FIFA member (after England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands). The Argentine Football Association (AFA) was formed in 1893 and is the eighth-oldest in the world.
The Avellaneda derby (clásico de Avellaneda) is the second most important rivalry in Argentine football. It is contested between Club Atlético Independiente and Racing Club, the 3rd and 4th most successful teams in terms of the total number of league championships won. It is the second most important local derby, behind to the Superclásico contested between Boca Juniors and River Plate, who are in the city of Buenos Aires; and it's a major football rivalry. Both teams are very popular in Argentina, and are two of the "five big teams of Argentinian football".
The two stadiums are only a few hundred metres apart, Independiente play at the Estadio Libertadores de América commonly known as "Doble Visera" and Racing Club play at the Estadio Juan Domingo Perón commonly known as "El Cilindro".
The first encounter between the two took place in 1907 with Independiente winning. The first top flight game between the two took place on December 12, 1915, Independiente won 2-1, but the result was overturned and Racing were awarded the victory. The 2 points from that game were enough for Racing to go on to win the 1915 championship. The 26 November 1961 saw the most violent game between the two clubs, the referee was forced to suspend the game for 6 minutes due to fighting amongst the players. The referee eventually sent off 4 players from each team. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Mario Kempes (born July 15, 1954 in Bell Ville, Córdoba) is an Argentine former football striker. His father, Mario, who was also a football player, inspired him to play from a young age. At the age of 7 years, he began playing with a junior team and at 14 he joined la cuarta de Talleres. He is most famous for playing for Valencia and being the focal point of Argentina's 1978 World Cup win.
Kempes was the only foreign based player on the list of coach César Luis Menotti's national team, he was at the time playing for Spanish giants Valencia while the other squad members all played in Argentina. The coach described him when announcing the squad he had selected for the 1978 tournament, "He's strong, he's got skill, he creates spaces and he shoots hard. He's a player who can make a difference, and he can play in a centre-forward position".
During his playing career he won 43 caps for Argentina and scored 20 times. He represented his country in three World Cups in 1974, 1978 and 1982, winning the competition in 1978. He was the leading goalscorer in the 1978 tournament, scoring six goals. In 1978 he was named South American Football Player of the Year and one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.
Brief in-the-news coverage of Football in Argentina is also available at Sports current events.
Sports current events | Wikinews Football
- July 3: FIFA World Cup 2018 Last 16: France, Uruguay sends Argentina and Portugal home
- July 1: FIFA World Cup 2018 day 12, 13, 14, 15: Iran, Nigeria, Germany, Senegal out of the tournament
- July 1: Argentine footballer Mascherano announces international retirement
- June 27: FIFA World Cup 2018 day eight, nine, ten, eleven: Belgium, England confirm knockout phase qualification; Poland, Costa Rica miss out Last 16
- June 26: Argentine footballer Javier Pastore leaves Paris SG for AS Roma