Soccer, or football as it is known in many parts of the world, is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports on the planet. From the World Cup to the Champions League, soccer has the power to bring people together from all walks of life and across borders. However, with the love of the beautiful game also comes intense rivalries between countries.
These rivalries can span decades, and they are often fueled by history, politics, and cultural differences. The passion and intensity of these matches can be felt both on and off the pitch, with fans, players, and entire nations being swept up in the drama of the game. In this article, we'll look at some of the most heated soccer rivalries between countries.
Argentina vs. Brazil
This rivalry is known as the "Superclasico of the Americas" and is one of the biggest in the world. Both countries have a long history of success in soccer, with some of the greatest players of all time coming from these nations. These two South American powerhouses have a long history of success in international soccer, with a combined nine World Cup titles and numerous other trophies and accolades.
One of the most memorable moments in the rivalry came in the 1978 World Cup, when Argentina faced Brazil in the second round. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, but it featured several heated moments and physical play from both sides. In the end, Argentina advanced to the next round and eventually won the tournament, while Brazil was eliminated.
Another memorable match between the two teams came in the final of the 1990 World Cup, which was won by West Germany. Argentina and Brazil had faced each other in the round of 16, with Argentina winning 1-0, but they were unable to replicate that success in the final.
England vs. Germany
This rivalry dates back to the 1966 World Cup final, when England beat Germany 4-2 in extra time to win their first and only World Cup.
Since then, the two teams have faced each other in several high-profile matches, including the 1990 World Cup semifinals and the 1996 European Championship semifinals, which Germany both won in a penalty shootout leaving the English soccerfans behind in tears.
One of the most memorable moments in the rivalry came in the 2010 World Cup, when Germany beat England 4-1 in the round of 16. The match featured a controversial goal by Germany's Thomas Muller that was not seen by the officials, as well as a disallowed goal by England's Frank Lampard that clearly crossed the line.
Mexico vs. United States
One of the most memorable matches between the two teams came in the 2002 World Cup, when the United States upset Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16. The match featured goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan, as well as several key saves by U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel. The victory was seen as a major upset and a turning point for U.S. soccer.
Netherlands vs. Germany
One of the most significant moments in the rivalry came in the 1974 World Cup Final, where the Netherlands faced Germany. The match is remembered for its intense atmosphere and controversial moments, including a tackle from Dutch player Johan Cruyff that led to a penalty kick for the Germans. Germany won the match 2-1, and the Dutch team was left feeling bitter about the result.
Since then, the two teams have faced each other in several high-profile matches, including the semifinals of the 1988 European Championship, which the Netherlands won 2-1 with only two minutes left in the game.
France vs. Italy
One of the most memorable moments in the rivalry came in the final of the 2006 World Cup, when Italy beat France on penalties after a 1-1 draw. The match was played in Berlin, and featured a dramatic extra time period in which French star Zinedine Zidane was sent off for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi.