Watching Football in Buenos Aires

If Latin American passion is your thing, you can’t go wrong with Argentinian soccer. The population live and breathe it (Buenos Aires traffic is no doubt at a standstill after Argentina’s 4-1 victory over South Korea in the World Cup) and things reach fever pitch four times a year when the two most popular clubs in Argentinian soccer, Boca Juniors and River Plate, clash in the Super-Derby (superclasico). British newspaper the Observer even went as far to put the event at the top of their list, “50 Sporting Things You Must Do Before You Die”. It’s official; you have no choice but to get to Buenos Aires to see a match. Here’s how to make it happen and blend successfully into the chaos.

1) Choose your team
Both clubs originate from the La Boca district in Buenos Aires, but River moved in 1925 to the affluent Nunez district of the city. This has engrained a class divide between the two teams, even though supporters (hinchas) from both sides are from a Boca Juniors mix of backgrounds. You’ll have to choose between being a River Plate Millionario at the risk of being called a gallina (chicken) by all the opposing Boca fans. Go for Boca and your hinchada (group of supporters) will be calling themselves Los Xeneizes (the Genovese) after the Italian immigrants that founded the team from the dock regions 100 years ago. The River Plate hinchada naturally has a different opinion, calling Boca supporters los bosteros (manure handlers) and wearing clothes pegs on their noses to the games.

2) Learn your chants
You’ll fit much better into your “numero doce” or “number 12” shirt that the supporters give themselves credit for if you can scream soccer chants along with the rest of your team. It was difficult to find songs not littered with language to turn your ears blue, but I managed it. Try these ones for size…

For Boca:

Vamo, vamo los Xeneize
vamo Xeneize vamo a ganar
somo la mita mas uno
somo el pueblo y el carnaval.
Boca te llevo en el alma
y cada dia te quiero mas!

Let’s go, let’s go Xeneizes
Let’s go Xeneizes, we’re gonna win.
We’re half plus one.*
We’re the people and carnival.
Boca you’re in my soul,?
and every day I love you more.

* because so many Argentines are Boca fans they say they make up half plus one of the population – great soccer logic!

For River:

Adonde vayas
te alentaremos
Vos sos mi vida
lo que mas quiero
Esta es hichada
esta es tu gente
La que te sigue
te alienta siempre
River Plate, River Plate