The practice of sports in Argentina is varied due to the population's diverse European origins and the mostly mild climate. Association football is the most popular discipline and other sports played both professionally and recreatively athletics, auto racing, basketball, boxing, cycling, field hockey, fishing, golf, handball, mountaineering, padel tennis, polo, roller hockey, rowing, rugby union, sailing, skiing, swimming, tennis and volleyball. Argentine achievements can be found in team sports such as association football, basketball, field hockey and rugby union, and individual sports such as boxing, golf, tennis and rowing. Pato, the national sport, is not very popular.
Argentina is one of the most important sport powers in the region, ending at the top of the medal count at the South American Games since 1978, with exceptions in 2002 and 2010. In the all-time medal table of the Pan American Games, Argentina holds first place among South American countries and fourth place in the Americas, behind the United States, Canada and Cuba. Despite a relative lack of success at the Olympic level in more traditional sports like athletics, swimming, and gymnastics, Argentina has had successful participations in other sports like association football, basketball, field hockey, roller hockey, padel tennis, polo and rugby union.
Football is the most popular sport in Argentina and part of the country's culture. The sport is played by children during breaks at school and by grown-ups on the plenty of both indoor and outdoor fields located throughout the country.
The national team has won the FIFA World Cup twice (in 1978 and 1986), successive Olympic gold medals (in 2004 and 2008), fourteen Copas América, one Confederations Cup and six World Youth Championships. Argentine clubs have won the Copa Libertadores, the top continental competition, a record 22 times and the Intercontinental Cup or FIFA Club World Cup 8 times, a record shared with Brazilian clubs. The Argentine Primera División is the top level domestic competition. The country's most famed football idol is Diego Maradona. Actually the most famous football player is Lionel Messi.
Argentina's fiercest rival is Brazil and their rivalry is sometimes known as the "Battle of the South Americans". They have played each other numerous times in the Copa América and the Confederations Cup, and their clubs have met several times in the Copa Libertadores finals. Argentina is one of the few national teams in association football that have beaten Brazil on a regular basis. Argentine and Brazilian national youth teams have also met at various tournaments. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, the under-23 teams met in the semi-finals, with Argentina winning 3–0 in a hard-fought game. In addition, the aforementioned Maradona has been often compared with Brazilian iconic player Pelé.
Women's football is far behind in terms of popularity and professionalism. However, the women's national team has competed in the South American Championship since 1995, finishing as runner-up three times before winning the competition in 2006 with a 5–0 victory over Brazil. The national team also played in the 2003 and the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cups, but finished last in its group on both occasions.
Basketball is a very popular sport, mostly in the provinces of Argentina. The Basketball Clubs' Association organizes the Liga Nacional de Básquet, the top level league in the country. Although the national team won the first FIBA World Championship in 1950, the sport did not gain country-wide popularity until the 2000s, when the national team conquered the Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and had a good performance in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Championships finishing on the second, fourth and fifth position respectively. The national team also won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Argentine NBA star Manu Ginóbili also won NBA Championship rings in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, the 2007 victory included compatriot Fabricio Oberto.
Although women's basketball is not professional in Argentina, the national team participates in most international competitions, reaching their highest point at the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women where they finished in the 9th place.
Rugby union is a popular and largely amateur sport. However, despite this amateurism, the national team have become one of the most powerful in the sport, finishing third in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and rising as high as third in the World Rugby Rankings (then known as the IRB World Rankings) immediately after. Since November 2004, Argentina have picked up at least one win over all the participants in Europe's Six Nations Championship, drawn with the British and Irish Lions and narrowly lost to the All Blacks, who were forced to survive a last-second assault on their try line. In particular, the Pumas have enjoyed a dominating record in recent years against France, going 7–2 since 2000, with a total points against of 7.
For the first 20 years of the sport's professional era, dating from 1996, most important Argentine players have emigrated to Europe (mainly to England and France). Probably the best known players are 1970s and 1980s star Hugo Porta; Agustín Pichot, Pumas captain during their 2007 World Cup run and now the vice chairman of World Rugby; his successor as captain, Felipe Contepomi; current star utility back Juan Martín Hernández; 1990s star and later Pumas head coach Santiago Phelan; Marcelo Loffreda, who coached the team during their 2007 World Cup run before leaving to take up the coaching post at English club power Leicester Tigers; and current head coach Daniel Hourcade.
In 2012, Argentina joined New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in the Tri Nations Championship, which then became The Rugby Championship. In 2014, Argentina took their first victory in this competition, against Australia in the first round. Argentina further cemented its links with SANZAAR when the country was added to that body's Super Rugby competition, which added teams based in Argentina and Japan in 2016.
Handball is a firmly growing sport in Argentina, with the men's national team regularly qualifying for the World Championship. Argentina has started producing world class talent, such as the brothers Diego and Sebastián Simonet. The national team won the gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games.
Tennis has been quite popular among people of all ages since the 1970s, after both Guillermo Vilas and later Gabriela Sabatini in the 1980s reached the number 2 position and won several Grand Slams. Even though no Argentine player has thus far reached the first place at the ATP Rankings, many Argentines have been among the most important in the circuit. During the 2000s a number of Argentine players were among the top 10 and the 2004 French Open featured an all-Argentine final. Gastón Gaudio won the Roland Garros in 2004. At the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup, David Nalbandian defeated world number 1 Roger Federer and the tournament gathered 4 Argentine players, an all-time record for any nationality. Most recently, Juan Martín del Potro has emerged as one of the leading players in the world, having won the 2009 US Open a few days before his 21st birthday. Argentina has won the World Team Cup four times, in 1980, 2002, 2007 and 2010 and has reached the semifinals of the Davis Cup 7 times in the last 10 years, losing the finals against Russia in 2006 and Spain in 2008 and 2011; the Argentine team also played the final in 1981, where they lost against the United States. The national squad won the 2016 Davis Cup.
The women's national team Las Leonas is one of the world's most successful, with four Olympic medals, two World Cups, a World League and six Champions Trophy. The national team won the World Cup twice; in 2002 and 2010. At the Olympic Games, it won the silver medal in 2000 and 2012, as well as bronze in 2004 and 2008. Las Leonas also won the annual Champions Trophy on seven occasions, in 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 and the World League 2014-2015. Luciana Aymar is recognized as the best female player in the history of the sport, being the only player to have received the FIH Player of the Year Award eight times.
The men's national team Los Leones won the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and the bronze medal at the 2014 World Cup and 2008 Champions Trophy. The national squad also won Pan American Games on nine occasions and the 2005, 2007 and 2012 Champions Challenges.
Rink hockey is mainly played in the Cuyo region (especially in San Juan Province). Argentine players have an international quality, with the men's national team winning 5 Rink Hockey World Championship titles. The women's national team is the world's most successful team, having won 5 FIRS Women's Roller Hockey World Cup titles. Argentine Clubs such as Olimpia and UVT have also won international titles.
Pascual Pérez was Argentina's first world boxing champion. There are Argentine boxing legends such as Carlos Monzón, Santos Laciar, Juan Martín Coggi and Nicolino Locche who held the world champion's title in their categories. Argentine boxers have, as of 2004, earned 24 Olympic medals, including seven gold medals.
Argentine boxer Victor Galindez was the third Latin American to win the world's Light-Heavyweight title (after Puerto Rico's José Torres and Venezuela's Vicente Rondon, WBA-recognized champion during the middle of the 1970s). Galindez died after he was run over by a car during an auto racing competition in which he took part.
In 1994, WBA world Middleweight champion Jorge Castro knocked out John David Jackson in the ninth round to retain his title in Monterrey, Mexico. Since Castro was on the brink of suffering a technical knockout loss when he won the fight, the punch with which he beat Jackson has become known as boxing's version of Diego Maradona's Hand of God goal.
Marcos René Maidana has also been champion in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Volleyball has a professional male league. Argentina national volleyball team's best achievements are the bronze medals at the 1988 Summer Olympics and 1982 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship. The male team is usually ranked by the FIVB among the top 10 national teams in the world.
The national team also won the gold medal at the Pan American Games in two occasions (1995, 2015).
Female volleyball is not played professionally. The female team is less important internationally than its male counterpart.
From rallying to Formula One, auto racing is a sport followed by a number of fans in Argentina. Formula One legend Juan Manuel Fangio was five times Formula One world champion under four different teams, winning 102 of his 184 international races, and is widely ranked as the greatest driver of all time. Other distinguished racers were Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Juan Gálvez, José Froilán González, and Carlos Reutemann. Years after Fangio's career was over, Carlos Reutemann was the best known Argentine driver of the 1970s. More recently José María López has emerged as one of the world's top touring car drivers, winning the World Touring Car Championship in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Argentine competitions include the TC 2000 and Turismo Carretera road racing series, as well as Rally Argentina of the World Rally Championship. Argentina has also hosted the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014 editions of the Dakar Rally, along with Chile. Former events include the defunct Formula One Argentine Grand Prix and World Sportscar Championship's 1000 km Buenos Aires.
Among the best in South America, the first prominent figure of this sport in Argentina was José Jurado. He was the first Argentine to travel to major international championships and is thus often credited as the "Father of Argentine Professional Golf"
Other notable Argentine golfers include Roberto De Vicenzo, Antonio Cerdá, José Cóceres, Eduardo Romero, Ángel Cabrera, Andrés Romero and Ricardo González. De Vicenzo and Cerdá won the 1953 Canada Cup. In history, Argentine golfers won three Majors, Roberto De Vicenzo the British Open in 1967, and Ángel Cabrera the U.S. Open in 2007 and the Augusta Masters in 2009.
Argentina's polo team won their first Olympic gold medal in 1924 and the second gold medal in 1936. Adolfo Cambiaso, Gonzalo Pieres, his brother Facundo, the Novillo Astrada brothers, the Heguy's, and Tommy Iriarte are currently ranked amongst the best polo players in the world. The three most important polo tournaments in the world, the Argentine Open, the Hurlingham Open, and the Tortugas Open are held in Argentina. Historically, Argentina has always been a leading country in this international handicapped sport, and has been uninterrupted world champions since 1949 and Argentine players comprise most of the world's top ten players. Argentina has won five World Polo Championships.
Cricket has been played in Argentina since 1806, with the international side making its first appearance in 1868, against the Uruguay national team. The sport regained some popularity, due to the national team's participation at the World Cricket League, and the Argentina national women's cricket team at the Women's version of the ICC Americas Championship. Though cricket is a minor sport, Argentina is the strongest team in mainland South America, and are currently playing in division 1777 of the World Cricket League. There is a huge scope of development of the sport in this country, given that there are a large number of British descendants in Argentina. Argentina dominated the South American Cricket Championship.
Argentina was one of eight founding members of the International Olympic Committee, and first participated in the Olympic Games in 1900 with one single athlete. Argentine Olympic competitors have, from 1900 to 2016, garnered 74 medals (21 gold, 25 silver, 28 bronze); from 1924 to 1952, its athletes had good showings, giving the Argentine delegations global ranks of between 16th and 19th. From 1956 to 2000, however, Argentina did not win any gold medals, a situation that was reversed in 2004, when it acquired two and further so, in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Argentina won 10 Olympic medals in sailing (1 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze), the Argentinian experience and level in this sport are high, even between young children competing in optimist class boats. Carlos Espínola is the sailor who won most Olympic medals in this sport with 4. Santiago Lange won the World Championship on four occasions (1985, 1993, 1995 and 2004) and the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Padel tennis is played by four and a half million amateur players in thirty five thousand courts; it is the most participated sport in Argentina. Professional players compete in national circuit of tournaments and Argentinian professional wrestling. Argentina won 18 titles at the Padel Tennis World Championship (women and men).
Pétanque is a popular sport played by more than half a million amateurs, whom 4,000 have a licence from the Argentinean federation. There is no professional players. Argentina plays in international competitions and world championship. In 2009, Argentina was 15th in the world ranking among 62 countries. Despite good performances in World Championship, Argentina has not won any World Champion titles. The Federation of Argentina became a member of the Fédération Internationale de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal in 1950.
|Association football||Men's||La albiceleste||The white and sky blue|||
|Basketball||Men's||El alma||The soul|
|Basketball||Women's||Las gigantes||The giants|||
|Cricket||Women's||Las flamingos||The flamingos|||
|Field hockey||Women's||Las leonas||The lionesses|||
|Women's u-21||Las leoncitas||The little lionesses|||
|Field hockey||Men's||Los leones||The lions|
|Handball||Men's||Los gladiadores||The gladiators|||
|Paralympic association football||Men's||Los murciélagos||The bats|||
|Roller hockey (Quad)||Women's||Las águilas||The eagles|||
|Rugby union||Men's||Los pumas||The pumas|||
|Men's second team||Argentina XV||Argentina XV|||
|Men's u-20||Los pumitas||The little pumas|||
|Tennis||Men's||La legión||The legion|||
|Volleyball||Women's||Las panteras||The panthers|||
Argentina has hosted a wide range of international competitions, among them:
|Amateur wrestling||FILA Wrestling World Championships||1969||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1916||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1921||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1925||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1929||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1937||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1946||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1959||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||1987||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||Copa América||2011||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||FIFA U-20 World Cup||2001||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||FIFA World Cup||1978||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||South American Youth Championship||1988||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||South American Youth Championship||1999||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Association football||South American Women's Championship||1998||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Association football||South American Women's Championship||2006||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1918||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1924||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1931||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1941||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1952||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1967||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1983||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||1997||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Athletics||South American Championships||2011||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Basketball||FIBA Americas Championship||1995||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Basketball||FIBA Americas Championship||2001||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Basketball||FIBA Americas Championship||2011||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Basketball||FIBA Basketball World Cup||1950||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Basketball||FIBA Basketball World Cup||1990||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|
|Basketball||FIBA Under-21 World Championship||2005||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Fencing||World Fencing Championships||1962||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Fencing||World Fencing Championships||1977||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Men's Hockey Champions Challenge||2009||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Women's Champions Trophy||1995||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Women's Champions Trophy||2004||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Women's Champions Trophy||2007||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Women's Champions Trophy||2012||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Women's Champions Trophy||2014||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Men's Hockey World Cup||1978||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Women's Hockey World Cup||1981||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Field hockey||Women's Hockey World Cup||2010||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Shooting||ISSF World Shooting Championships||1903||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Shooting||ISSF World Shooting Championships||1949||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Volleyball||FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship||1982||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Volleyball||FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship||2002||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Multi-sport event||South American Games||1982||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Multi-sport event||South American Games||2006||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Multi-sport event||Pan American Games||1951||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Multi-sport event||Pan American Games||1995||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
Y en algunos de ellos los goleadores aparecieron: tres tantos hizo Gabriel Batistuta en el 5 a 0 a Bosnia, en 1998, y los dos tantos con los que la albiceleste venció 2 a 0 a Ghana, en 2009, pertenecieron a Martín Palermo.
El seleccionado argentino femenino, las Gigantes, consiguió una inolvidable victoria por 61-59 sobre Canadá y se clasificó para la final del FIBA Américas, que se juega en el Coliseo de Neiva, Colombia, en la que se medirá con el ganador del duelo que anoche sostenían Brasil y Cuba; el campeón del torneo obtendrá la única plaza directa para los Juegos Olímpicos de Londres 2012, mientras que los otros semifinalistas se aseguraron un lugar en el repechaje.
Finalmente, el Seleccionado Femenino Argentino, ganó todos sus partidos en el Primer Sudamericano para quedarse con el torneo.
Misión cumplida: las Leonas ya eran campeonas mundiales y para ellas llegaba el instante mágico de la distensión total, del desahogo infinito; de vivir y palpitar la fiebre del sábado por la noche.
Las Leoncitas buscarán concretar hoy el gran sueño de campeonas: desde las 16.30 de nuestro país, jugarán la final del Mundial Sub 21 ante Holanda.
El mérito de los Gladiadores fue haber superado esa prueba frente a los anfitriones, a quienes vencieron por 32-21 en el tercer compromiso del Grupo A.
El presidente Nestor Kirchner recibió esta mañana y felicitó al seleccionado de fútbol de ciegos bautizado como Los Murciélagos, que se acaba de consagrar bicampeón del mundo, y lo consideró como "un tremendo honor para todos los argentinos".
En el año de los mundiales, el hockey le dio a la Argentina su segunda gran alegría del año. Claro que esta vez la hazaña no fue sobre el césped, como lo habían sabido lograr las Leonas en Rosario, sino sobre los patines de las Águilas, el seleccionado femenino que ayer se consagró en España y consiguió el cuarto título mundial para la Argentina en la disciplina.
Pero si hay algo que dignifica al seleccionado es la opulencia de arrojo. Así fue, entonces, cómo los del Cardo se estrellaron con el coraje de los Pumas, responsables de otro hito del deporte argentino.
El segundo seleccionado argentino rindió en gran forma y no tuvo problemas para golear a Estados Unidos Select XV (57-10).
Fue una tarde soñada para los Pumitas. El seleccionado juvenil derrotó por 30-10 a Tonga, con 17 puntos del apertura del SIC, y definirá el sábado próximo el pase a las semifinales con Nueva Zelanda, que ayer goleó a Irlanda por 65-10 en el cierre de la segunda fecha de la Zona A.
Para la Legión argentina , esa enorme generación de jugadores que comanda David Nalbandian y a la que acaba de sumarse la juventud de Juan Martín del Potro, será la revancha de la final perdida hace dos años frente a Rusia, en Moscú.
El seleccionado argentino femenino consiguió la tercera victoria en la gira europea que está realizando, como antesala de su participación en el Mundial de Alemania. Las Panteras, tal como se las conoce, superaron a Kazajstán por 3 a 2 (parciales de 25-14, 25-20, 20-25, 14-25 y 18-16), en un match disputado en Varna, Bulgaria.