Soccer Field or Battlefield?

The battle in the stands begins before the game

(Alex) Boca and River, equivalent to Yankees and Red Sox in rivalries, met last night at River’s stadium here in Buenos Aires. Boca is Red Sox, while River is Yankees. River’s stadium holds about 65 thousand people, 61 thousand of them are River fans, the other four thousand people were Boca’s biggest fans. All confined into one small section tightly guarded by policemen, high fences and barbed wire.

5:40 — Mom, Dad and I entered the River Plata stadium, where thousands and thousands of fans were already screaming for the JV River and Boca players.

6:30 — The JV game ends, Boca wins. Boca fans get a boost, since it usually is an upset to have Boca beat River.

6:50 — The River and Boca players take the pitch, 20 minutes before game time is supposed to start. Paper is thrown everywhere like confetti, drums, singing, screaming and finally, the HUGE River banner comes down, from the top of the stadium, going down to cover all the crazy, most-into-the-game fans.

7:00 — The game begins, with the paper, toilet paper and plastic still on the field. Its pretty funny how the game goes on with the field covered by paper and plastic, when the Red Sox umpires pop the beach ball if it happens to fly out on to the field.

The game is amazing. So much noise. Almost impossible to even hear the referee’s whistle. Fans whistle instead of booing, because booing is not as loud as whistling. Dad and I were hoping for a goal in order to see what the crowd would react like. Halftime it was zero-zero.

Luckily we got our wish, 12 minutes into the second half, when River scored on a header from a corner kick. What happened is almost impossible to explain. River team fans were screaming, cheering, singing, shouting, among themselves and to the Boca guys. And I have a feeling that they were not shouting very nice things. Some fans also had brought pink/red flares to light and wave around. Boca fans on the other hand, had a very different reaction than I would have expected. I expected (well I wasn’t really expecting anything), but it was amazing. Boca fans lighting flares and having hundreds of live flames. Some waving them until they blow out but some people took their flaming flares and threw them down onto the River fans below. Luckily no one was hurt from what we saw, because obviously the ticket holders for those seats were veterans and moved when the flames were lit.

Game ended 1 -0. Close though because at the end of the game, Boca seemed to gain some momentum and kept possession of the ball and had a few scoring opportunities. When the ref blew the final whistle, the crowd erupted in cheers, song and flames. Waving the flags they had brought, lighting the last few flares and fireworks and singing a song to the Boca fans who were already being escorted out of the stadium. Forty minutes later, the River fans were allowed to leave. Forty minutes later just to make sure that the Boca fans (or any other opponent) have enough time to leave the stadium and the area around it, not to make any trouble.

That was definitely the most loud sporting event I will ever see in my life. And there is no chance of me forgetting it either. Watch the video below to see the craziness:

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9 Responses to “Soccer Field or Battlefield?”

  1. Oh my gosh! That’s amazing! I want to skype with you guys without the entire 6th grade staring at you. 🙂 It’s under my mom’s name. (first and last)Thanks!


  2. It was soo great to skype with you guys today! How was the soccer game??

  3. It was so cool how you jumped off the cliff in Zimbabwe

  4. Chuck Bartlett 19. Nov, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Hey Alex – That looks crazy! I’d heard about this game before but your story and video really brought it to life. Did you ever feel like it was getting a little bit too crazy in there?? Glad that you guys are having fun!

    Unky Guck

  5. Just read your Blog and watched the video!!! That was INSANE!!!! So great seeing you yesterday.

  6. That must have been intense!! It was so great skyping with you emma!! Have lots of fun!!!

    ~Izzy xoxo

  7. Whoa- soccer’s definitely not that crazy back in the US!


  8. Hi Alex!,
    Won’t the fire hurt the people? I mean is it fake? It doesn’t look fake, but how is it legal to drop fire onto people?

  9. Ahhh! Looks like the same crowd we visited with back in 2007 – that time Boca won. Pretty incredible futbol for sure!!