The greatest rivalries in international football

Image copyright: Getty Images

There are many rivalries in international football that feature an intimidating atmosphere and tension on and off the pitch.
Here are the five greatest rivalries in international football.

5. England v Scotland

Matches In All Competitions: 115
England Wins: 48
Scotland Wins: 41
Draws: 26
This is the oldest international fixture in the world, first played in 1872 at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow.
The history of the British Isles has led to much rivalry between the countries. Whenever the two teams clash there is always tension on the pitch and amongst fans.
England beat Scotland 2-0 in the 2000 UEFA Euro Qualifier in 1999 and there was crowd trouble following the game, where 51 people were arrested in the city centre of Glasgow after battles between fans.
"There are always plenty of vituperative (bitter) comments by the Scots before an international," England World Cup winner Nobby Stiles wrote in his 1968 autobiography.
"And if they do win it is played up out of all proportion and we never hear the last of it. Sometimes it goes beyond the bounds of partisanship and only points to one thing: an inferiority complex that can only be sated by reviling the English."

4. Argentina v England

Matches In All Competitions: 15
Argentina Wins: 4
England Wins: 6
Draws: 5
There is a highly competitive rivalry between Argentina and England, and games between the two teams, even friendly matches, are often marked by notable and sometimes controversial incidents.
The rivalry was driven by various controversial incidents, particularly those in the games played between the teams at the 1966 and 1986 FIFA World Cups.
The two teams met in the quarter-finals of the 1966 tournament, a game referred to in Argentina as el robo del siglo ("the theft of the century")  which saw England win 1–0 thanks to a goal from striker Geoff Hurst, disputed by the Argentines due to a claimed offside.
Then in 1986, Argentina took the lead through a highly-controversial goal from their star player Diego Maradona, who punched the ball into the England net with his hand. This is now known as the infamous 'Hand of God'.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup match between the two teams is remembered for David Beckham receiving a red card after being fouled by Diego Simeone.
Simeone stood up, he rubbed his knuckles against the back of the English midfielder's head as Beckham lay face-down on the pitch, while lying on the floor, Beckham swung his leg at the Argentine, after which Simeone fell over, and the referee sent Beckham off.

Sign up at Betway and enjoy solid action & heart-racing thrills when you bet on the English Premier League

Bet on the English premier league with Betway


3. Germany v Netherlands

Matches In All Competitions:40
Germany Wins: 15
Netherlands Wins: 10
Draws: 15
The rivalry between the two European giants is one of the few longest standing football rivalries at a national level.  The rivalry is deeply rooted in Dutch anti-German sentiment due to the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.
It started in 1974 when the Dutch lost the 1974 FIFA World Cup to West Germany in the final. 
During the semi-final of UEFA Euro 1988, the Dutch defeated Germany (the host country) 2–1 with a goal by Marco van Basten in the last minute.
After the game Ronald Koeman of the Dutch team pretended to wipe his backside with Olaf Thon's jersey, creating outrage in Germany.
"I had been waiting for that moment for fourteen years. Before the game I remembered my feelings watching TV as a teenager, and that boosted up my anger.
"I am happy to have been able to give this gift to the older generation, the ones that lived through the War," Hans van Breukelen, Dutch goalkeeper on the UEFA Euro 1988 match.

2. France v Italy

Matches In All Competitions:39
France Wins:11
Italy Wins: 18
Draws: 10
The two accomplished European countries have had a very competitive rivalry since the inception of the FIFA World Cup in 1930.
Italy have won four FIFA World Cups in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006, while France have won two FIFA World Cups in 1998 and 2018.
Notable games in the World Cup and the Euro Championship include the 2006 World Cup final which saw the Italians defeat the French 5-3 in the penalty shoot-out, after a 1-1 draw.
The match is best remembered for France captain Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutting of Italian defender Marco Materazzi at the Olympiastadion in Germany.
While the 2000 European Championship, won by France with an extra-time golden goal by David Trezeguet, is one of the best matches in the history of European football.

1. Brazil v Argentina

Matches In All Competitions:105
Argentina Wins: 38
Brazil Wins: 41
Draws: 26
This rivalry is called the 'Battle of the South Americans' and FIFA have described it as the 'essence of football rivalry.'
Even to passionate football fans, Argentina and Brazil matches are often noteworthy for the sheer level of competitiveness and talent of the two squads.
Their matches are one that neither side wants to lose, and often acquires more importance than the championship within which it takes place.
Since the first match between the two countries in 1914 (which Argentina won 3-0), Argentina dominated the early years with more than double of the Brazilian victories.
But the 1970s proved to be dark times for Argentina as Brazil dominated South American football - they have since recorded the most wins in this rivalry.

Stay in the game with Virtual Sports

For all the latest sports news, betting tips and promotions follow Betway on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTubeDownload the Betway App

Published: 05/29/2020