Biggest Rivalries in International Football
An International Friendly between rival countries England and Scotland is only round the corner. The two sides are set to face each other at Celtic Park and will be England’s last international fixture of 2014. England’s last visit to Scotland was in 1999 when Paul Scholes earned his country a 2-0 victory at Hampden Park. With this rivalry in mind, we are looking at some of the biggest/best international rivalries.
Denmark and Sweden’s rivalry goes back nearly 100 years; however the spark in this rivalry came during an equalisation match in 2008. Sweden held a 3 goal lead over Denmark however Denmark came back to level the score, the main talking point of the game came later on when Christian Poulsen (Denmark) hit Markus Rosenberg (Sweden) in the stomach, this caused havoc during the fans with a Danish fans storming the pitch attempting to punch the referee, this forced the referee to abandon the game. With this in mind the rivalry between these two international sides has escalated into something more serious.
The rivalry between Spain and Portugal has existed for hundreds of years. This has slowly spread onto the pitch causing issues between the fans and players. Both sides have had some memorable match ups, one being in 2004 when Spain were tied at the top of the Group with Greece, Portugal needed to either draw or defeat Spain to progress to the next stage of the Euro’s. Eventually, Portugal defeated Spain 1 – 0 progressing through to the Euro Finals. With both sides having some of the greatest footballers in the world (the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi and Iniesta), the matches between the two sides have become more exciting to watch over the years.
5) Netherlands vs Germany
With Germany and Netherlands being considered two of the best sides in European and International Football, the match ups and rivalries between the two common border sides is quite strong. A memorable match in the 1974 World Cup Final saw the Netherlands face Germany, the Netherlands were strong favourites of the match with expectations of lifting the World Cup however Germany caused an upset and came out victorious. Another heated match between the two sides in 1990 saw two players receive red cards with Germany again emerging victorious.
4) England vs Scotland
With the International Friendly soon coming up, it would be rude not to include England and Scotland. England vs Scotland is considered to be the oldest international fixture in the world. The two British sides have been long-time rivals with their first match being hosted in 1872, with 112 meetings between the two international sides, England have won 46 games and Scotland have won 41 games, meaning England has a slight historical advantage in what will be a heated match.
3) England vs Germany
Two sides that have already been mentioned are also long-time rivals in international football. England and Germany only ever faced each other during international friendlies until 1966. England lined up against Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley where the linesman ruled England’s 4th goal to have crossed the line, meaning England won their first and only World Cup. Since then, the matches between the two sides have been heated; this rivalry has been stoked by some controversial decisions made by officials, one being the decision to disallow Frank Lampard’s Goal in 2010.
Another two rival sides that are European and are neighbouring countries are Italy and France. For the first 72 years of their rivalry, Italy has dominated in their fixtures by winning 17 games out 25 games. With France becoming more competitive in recent times, the fixture that will be best known between the two sides would be the 2006 World Cup Final which would be Zinedine Zidane’s last career game. Zindane’s game ended in the 110th minute when after Materazzi insulted him, an incensed Zidane head-butted Materazzi in the chest, earning him a red card. This is still considered to be one of the most bizarre moments In the World Cup.
One of the greatest football rivalries in the world is between two of the strongest sides in the world. With the two countries having two of the greatest football players of all time (Pele and Maradona), the two countries have always been at each other’s backs. There has even been controversy between the two sides even when they are not playing one another. One incident was when Argentina had to beat Peru by 4 goals to progress to the nest stage. Argentina won 6-0 and the Brazilian camp accused Peru of match fixing allowing them to score that amount of goals. Another incident was when the two sides met in 1990, Brazilian player Branco accused the Argentinian staff of placing tranquillizers inside a bottle of water that was given to him.