10 Best Rivalries To Look Out For At World Cup 2018

Expect fireworks if these sides meet during the competition.

Caniggia Scoring V Brazil
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Any football match is made just a little spicier by the presence of a good rivalry between the two sides. Every win matters to a team and their fans, but there’s no better feeling than getting one over on your mortal foes.

Both at club and international level, long-time football fans will know exactly how it feels heading into a game against a bitter enemy. Both in the stands and on the pitch, the atmosphere is stronger, the tension is more palpable, and the stakes are most definitely higher than they would be in any other match.

Whether due to their geographical location, cultural differences, footballing history, or something else altogether, plenty of nations and even individual players have established intense rivalries with one another over the years. And even if you don’t happen to be a fan of either side, these clashes can be highly enjoyable to watch for a variety of reasons.

Fortunately, we might catch a glimpse of some of these great rivalries at the World Cup, depending on how the tournament plays out. So if you want to see some of the most competitive games, keep an eye on these grudge matches.

10. Denmark/Sweden

Caniggia Scoring V Brazil
By J 1982 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Denmark and Sweden have rarely met at major tournaments, but fans of these nations still hold a fierce rivalry with one another, with the 'Nordic Derby' being one of the most hotly-contested matches among the Scandinavian countries.

The two sides have met over 100 times and are fairly well-matched, with Sweden just having the edge of 47 wins to Denmark's 40. The pair's most recent meeting was earlier this month as they saw out a 0-0 draw, but one of their most famous encounters came in a Euro 2008 qualifier. The match technically ended 3-3, but violent behaviour from Danish players and fans resulted in Sweden being awarded a 3-0 win, with one Danish fan storming onto the pitch and attempting to punch the ref.

With Denmark in Group C and Sweden in Group F, it's unlikely that the two sides will meet. They'd both have to get to the semi-finals for that to happen, but they'll still be keeping an eye on each other's progress, with both Swedish and Danish fans hoping to earn the bragging rights and see their team go one step further in the competition than the other.


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