The following are the greatest and most competitive international football rivalries:
10. France vs Italy
The rivalry between these two countries known as France-Italy football rivalry is to no surprise.Both countries have achieved six FIFA World Cup between themselves with Italy winning four in 1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006 and France taking home two recently in 2018 and 1998. Before 1982, Italy has been dominating with 17 wins, 3 losses and 6 draws out of a total 26 matches involving them and France. The French team then refused to pick up a loss against Italy ever since 1982 in a total of 9 games earning five wins and drawing the remaining until the 2006 World Cup final where they were defeated by Italy on penalties.
Remarkable matches in the World Cup and the European Football Championship between these two teams include the 2006 World Cup where Italy won the French National team 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw and the 2000 European Championship which France won after extra time with a golden goal from David Trezeguet. Their first meeting was a friendly match which ended Italy 6–2 France on the 15 of May 1910 and their latest is also friendly which the full-time scores were France 3–1 Italy on the 1 of June 2018.
9. Chile vs Peru
The national football teams of Chile and Peru have a rivalry that is known in Spanish as the Clásico del Pacífico and Pacific Derby in English. Games involving these two countries have a reputation for competitiveness, the football rivalry between Peru and Chile is partly a reflection of the geopolitical conflict between both neighboring states. The rivalry also sprang up primarily because both football teams are chasing the recognition as the better team in South America’s Pacific Coast as their football confederation is historically dominated by countries in South America’s Atlantic Coast. Their first meeting saw Peru win 1-0 in the 1935 South American Championship at Lima, Peru on the 26th of January 1935, and their latest meeting still saw Peru win Chile 3-0 at the 2019 Copa America hosted by Brazil on the 3rd of July 2019.
8. Denmark vs Sweden
The rivalry between Denmark and Sweden ages back to 1913 and is one of the most competitive football rivalries of the national men’s team. The first clash between the two neighboring countries was in 1913 and it attracted a large crowd, the game had several spectacular games and controversial incidents. Both countries have faced each other 105 times with Sweden having the most wins which are 46, Denmark also winning 40 times, and both teams playing a draw on 19 different meetings.
7. Germany vs Netherlands
Both football nations have been ranked among the strongest national team by Elo rating and have faced each other 44 times. The rivalry known as Germany-Netherland rivalry is one of the long-standing and we’ll know international football rivalries. Out of total matches of 44 involving both countries, Germany has 16 victories, the Netherlands has 12 victories and both of them have drawn 16 times. Their first-ever meeting was on the 24th of April 1910 where the Netherlands won Germany 4-2 at Arnhem, Netherlands and their latest meeting was in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers on the 6th of September 2019 which saw the Netherlands thrash Germany 4-2 at Hamburg in Germany.
6. Japan vs South Korea
The rivalry between Japan and South Korea has been official ever since 1954. Both teams have met 79 times with South Korea winning 42 times, Japan winning 14 and a tie 23 times. The match between the two countries is often shortened as haniljeon or nikkansen in their respective languages. Their first and latest meeting saw South Korea has the winner, The first meeting in 1954 was Japan 1-5 South Korea, and the latest was in 2019 which the scores were 1–0 in favor of South Korea.
5. Serbia vs Croatia
The rivalry between Croatia and Serbia is one of the most competitive rivalries. Although both teams have not met each other often it is still described as one of the most heated up rivalries in the world because of tensions between the countries that arose through the breakup of Yugoslavia and the subsequently often bad Croatia–Serbia relations. Their first meeting was in 1999, the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifiers where they played a goalless draw and their latest meeting was in 2013, the 2014 World Cup qualifiers where they also played a goalless draw.
4. Egypt vs Algeria
The match involving Egypt and Algeria is called North African Arch-rivalry, this is the type of match that makes the authorities genuinely nervous. Both country’s enmity goes beyond mere sporting matter and nothing less than 15,000 Policemen were on duty to keep peace in the stadium. Although both have long been among Africa’s stronger sides, each had experienced a long drought without World Cup qualification: Algeria since 1986 and Egypt since 1990. In 1989, Egypt beat Algeria in a decisive qualifying match for the 1990 World Cup. Player Ayman Younes later said, “It was a battle, not a football match.”
3. England vs Scotland
Scottish nationalism has also been a factor in the Scots’ desire to defeat England above all other rivals, with Scottish sports journalists traditionally referring to the English as the “Auld Enemy”. The match between England and Scotland is the oldest international fixture in the world which was first played at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow in 1872. When both countries first met in a match was on the 30th of November 1872 and the game ended in a goalless draw while their latest meeting was on the 10th of June 2017 with both teams drawing 2-2.
2. USA vs Mexico
The rivalry that exists between the USA and Mexico is also called Cross border derby and they are widely considered as the two major powers of CONCACAF. The first match which involved both teams was played in 1934 where the USA defeated Mexico 4-2 in their away uniform. From then the teams have met 70 times with Mexico leading in the overall with 36 wins while USA has just 19 wins. Since the beginning of the 1980s, USA has won more times.
1. Brazil vs Argentina
The rivalry is between Brazil national team and Argentina national team alongside with their respective sets of fans. Matches between these two countries even those friendlies are often marked by their remarkable and in some cases controversial incidents. The Battle of the South Americans is another name for this derby. Both countries have produced players considered at the time as the best in the world, such are the cases of José Manuel Moreno, Adolfo Pedernera, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Omar Sívori, Mario Kempes, Diego Maradona, Fernando Redondo, Gabriel Batistuta or Lionel Messi for Argentina, and Pelé, Garrincha, Zico, Romario, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaká or Neymar for Brazil.