RIO DE JANEIRO — Argentina-Brazil is the premier soccer rivalry in the world, filled with famous names, world-class players and heated exchanges.
The South American border rivalry moves to the basketball court in Group B play on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. ET, and officials from both countries, including Brazil coach Ruben Magnano, who is Argentine, are calling for peace.
“It’s a game, it’s a spectacle, it’s sport. There’s no need to fight,” Magnano said. “It should be a fiesta of our basketball. Zero violence, zero fighting.”
It is an important game for Brazil and Argentina who are trying to advance to the knockout round and a chance at a medal.
Argentina, the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalist and 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalist, is 2-1 with victories aginst Spain and Croatia and a loss to Lithuania. Brazil is 1-2 with losses to Lithuania and Croatia and a victory against Spain.
A victory against Argentina and Nigeria would send Brazil into the knockout round.
“I am still Argentine, I still have an Argentinian passport,” Magnano said. “But I need to defend, 100%, our Brazilian team.”