Monday, November 21, 2011

#21 Hang out with the Hooligans Part 1: History

My college team Iowa State just knocked off the number two team in the country. Football, American Football doesn't get any better. To say I would have been screaming until I couldn't and rushing the field with the rest of Cyclone nation is a given. However, the next day I went to El Clásico which is the biggest rivalry/game of the year in Uruguay. It may not be the same as winning over the number 2 team in the country, but I bet it will come close. It will be held in the Estadio Centenario, where the first World Cup was played.

Here is some pre-game stats.

Let's do a statistical run down of the teams Peñarol and Nacional:

They are the two best teams by far in Uruguay; historically and now.
Peñarol has won the Uruguayan league 37 times and placed second 26
Nacional has won 32 and placed second 35
The next team Danubio 4 and 6.
Yep if your familiar with Real Madrid v. Barca this is the South American version.

Oh, but Ryan they can't be that good I mean c'mon Brazil & Argentina must be better.
Take a seat my friend, as of late that might be the case, but historically tiny little Uruguay is punching way above its weight class it might as well be a featherweight knocking out a heavyweight. For club teams the most important Championship in South America is the Copa Libertadores (Liberator's Cup).

Let's check some stats:

Top 5 teams all-time(Country): Wins & 2nd
Independiente(ARG): 7 & 0
Boca Juniors (ARG): 6 & 3
Peñarol (URU): 5 & 5
Estudiantes (ARG): 4 & 1
Nacional (URU): 3 & 3
See, Ryan, Argentina is better. In this statistic yes, but this hardly shows the whole picture. Oh and did you notice the absence of country that absolutely dominates South America in size: Brazil...interesting.

Let's look closer:
If we were to make this a points classification with wins worth 3 points losses 0 and ties 1 from 1960 to now let's look at the Top 5 again.

Team(Country): Points
River Plate(ARG): 502
Boca Juniors(ARG): 401
Olimpia(PAR): 381

The only team even close to the Uruguayans is River Plate. They were recently relegated to the second division in Argentina which caused riots because that is just unheard of for a team like that. Therefore, I doubt they will be climbing above Uruguay any time soon. Boca is good, but they have a long way to climb. Oh and did you notice that a win by Peñarol could pull them equal with Nacional. They are so close it is ridiculous, but that makes a great rivalry. Oh your right Ryan, but you can make statistics say anything.

I agree that is why I am going to show you more(less likely to show bias):

Most times participated: Peñarol 39 (Nacional 38 and Olimpia 35)
Most games played: Nacional 325
Most games won: Peñarol 147
Most goals scored(all-time): Peñarol 492

In addition to these Peñarol and Nacional have some of the top players and coaches of all-time in the Liberator's Cup. Additionally, Peñarol has been involved in the 1st(11-2) 3rd(9-0) and 5th(9-1) highest scoring games(won all). Along with everything Peñarol was named the Club of the 20th Century in South America with Independiente of Argentina 2nd and Nacional 3rd.

Oh, but the best players are in Europe. I agree I love Barca and the Champions League is second to none. However, Europe also has way more money to pay players, so a lot of the best ones are from the Americas. However, historically South America has held its own against Europe in a inter-club competition called the Intercontinental Cup. The winner of the Champion's League and the Liberator's Cup play a home and away game to supposedly determine the best club in the world. It was played from 1960 to 2004.

All-time wins:
Tie for first is among 5 clubs with 3 wins each.

Team(Country): Wins & 2nd
AC Milan(ITA): 3 & 4
Peñarol(URU): 3 & 2
Real Madrid(ESP): 3 & 2
Boca Juniors(ARG): 3 & 1
Nacional(URU): 3 & 0

This competition ended in 2004 in favor of the World Club Cup. Since this new competition is so young neither of them have won...yet.

Oh and just to give you a flavor of the security situation. 500 police on hand with 17 checkpoints to enter. Also fans will enter on opposite sides. They aren't allowed near one another. See Part 2 for my description of the game.

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