Yesterday was the day of El Superclasico, the football game that the whole of Argentina talks about. One of if not THE fiercest rivalry in world football. The derby between River Plate and Boca Juniors, both of Buenos Aires, is a great spectacle both on and off the pitch.
It is safe to say we’ve never experienced anything like it!
We opted for the safe way of watching the game, by doing an organised trip with a tour operator. We travelled in a group of 15 by minibus to the River Plate stadium. It’s a pity the match wasn’t at Boca’s ground as the atmosphere is said to be even better!
Our first encounter with the Boca (away) fans was as were heading to the match. Suddenly, 7 completely loaded buses covered in blue and yellow (Boca’s colours), with fans hanging out the windows, blowing trumpets and horns, setting off fireworks and being escorted by an army of police on motor bikes came haring round the corner.
It was an amazing sight if a little intimidating.
After reaching the drop off point we set off in our group to the stadium. The atmosphere was electric. Things aren’t as well organised here as they are in football games in Europe so everything was quite chaotic. It didn’t help the other American and European tourists that our guide didn’t speak English so I had to translate the Spanish for everyone.
When we eventually went into the stadium we found out that seat numbers were not assigned. It was a free for all and you had to find a seat where one was available. Fortunately, we found a very good spot with great views of the pitch and high enough so we didn’t get anything thrown at us from up above.
We also were quite close to the Boca fans who had their own little section and were closed-in behind high barbed wire fences. There support throughout the match was so energetic to say the least. The drums and trumpets didn’t stop playing for the whole of the match and the fans also didn’t stop singing even after they went one nil down.
The football match itself was good and far more entertaining than the 1-0 scoreline.
However, the main attraction of this fixture are the fans and the atmosphere.
Suddenly we looked up at the Boca end and loads of LARGE blue and yellow parasoles were being waved around (how they got in when our 100ml sun cream was prohibited I will never know!!).
Next thing we saw were blow up dolls with bocca shirts on with red and whte helium ballons released from the river fans right below the boca end!!
Then we looked down the River plate end and a MASSIVE (see photo) flag was being released over the fans it covered both tiers of the stadium!! This flag was incredibly big! And the military efficiency and speed at which it was rolled out and folded back in again was amazing!!
Once the players came out the atmosphere stepped up a level, with streamers popping off all over the pitch, hand released fireworks and loud booming rockets (yep one of them was a roman candle!!) along with red, white blue and yellow smoke bombs. Good thing there were Fireman around the pitch as there were a few fires that had to be put out!!!
However, nothing could prepare us for when River Plate scored and Boca went one nil down. The Boca fans got a bit tetchy and all of their yellow fireworks were suddenly lit. They then decided to throw them down along with some of the spectator seating to the tier below where the River fans were sitting. We have captured this on video for you all! Notice how the stewards just stand and watch!! (don’t worry, they look like huge fireballs being thrown but it wasn’t as bad as it looked, nobody got hurt)
The game was GREAT and the atmosphere AMAZING but we were glad to get out in one piece.