The world of interational football is packed with fierce rivalries! Let’s examine some of the greatest!
Germany vs. Netherlands
The enduring image of this rivalry is, of course, Frank Rijkaard’s spit into the hair of Rudi Voller at the World Cup in 1990, but this is still one of Europe’s most fiercely contested rivalries in 2021.
Much of the rivalry originates from the Second World War, during which Germany occupied the Netherlands. Perhaps because of this, there is a common perception that feelings about this rivalry run higher on the Dutch side.
On the pitch, the incredible Netherlands outfit of 1974 – including the likes of Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Rob Rensenbrink, and Ruud Krol – were beaten 2-1 in the World Cup final by a Gerd Müller-inspired Germany in the most famous meeting ever between the teams.
Mexico vs. USA
This one never needs too much building up and has added edge nowadays with USA’s improved standing in the world game. Mexico have won 37 meetings to their rivals’ 20, although the contests have been more evenly balanced in recent years. After winning the teams’ first encounter at the 1934 World Cup, the USA lost 22 of the next 25 and didn’t achieve their second victory until 1979!
Scandal has hit some of their subsequent meetings, with Landon Donovan vilified in the build-up to an Olympic qualifier in 2004, after being accused of urinating on the Mexican pitch during training.
Donovan became a classic arch-villain to Mexican fans, but the lighter side to their rivalry was shown in 2010 when he appeared – wearing a sombrero, a poncho, and a fake moustache – in a Mexican TV advert for a new lottery game called GanaGol. It is fair to say that the reaction was mixed.