No atmosphere compares to that of a true rivalry in football. The passion and intensity at the greatest rivalry matches are unparalleled.
The WC in Russia will also bring many rivalries and in this article, we look at the best Rivalries that can take place this year in FIFA World Cup 2018:
#1 Portugal Vs Spain
Portugal and Spain have been drafted in Group B alongside each other and this match will have a historical significance to it.
This can be traced back to the 16th Century when Philip II became the king of Portugal after defeating Antonio, Prior of Crato and was crowned Philip I of Portugal. He gained the complete control of Portugal.
The subjugation still lives in the hearts of the Portuguese who even in football have always been the inferior side in recent years. Luiz Felipe Scolari while being the manager of Portugal before a match against Spain, once said, “This is war, and I have to kill and not be killed.”
#2 Denmark v Sweden
It is a rivalry that has arisen after a match in 2008, the two teams could meet in the Round of 8 at Russia. In 2008, Sweden and Denmark were playing to Qualify for the Euros. Much like the Real Madrid and Juventus game this year, Denmark came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3. And then, Sweden were awarded a last-minute Penalty to the disbelief of fans.
One fan broke the barriers to confront the referee and the match was abandoned. Sweden were awarded a 3-0 win. Although it’s highly unlikely that they’ll meet ( no disrespect) because of the next match on the list that can also happen through the same slots.
#3 Brazil v Uruguay
Maracana, Rio 1950. The home of football at Brazil being the deciding match for the World Cup of 1950. Brazil just needed to avoid losing to claim the world title but what folded in the 90 mins still boils the blood of fans till this day. Alcides Ghiggia’s goal 11 minutes from full time made sure that Brazil tasted defeat and conceded the World Cup to Uruguay.
Fans committed suicide, Journalists retired and a stunned silence is all that followed that match. The original Blue and White kit of Brazil back then was discarded and the Kit that we see today is an aftermath of that loss to Uruguay. The scar must remain fresh in the minds of the Brazilians.
#4 Serbia v Croatia
Another match that can happen in the Round of 8. Years of war have seen the citizens of the respective countries hate each other. The war took many lives and it still reinvigorates the fans. Both these teams played their first match in 2013, 15 years since the break up of Yugoslavia.
While the war is usually seen as the reason, the fire was started in the match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade in the year 1990. Fights started between the fans of Dinamo Zagreb and Serbian Police and even the players joined in to protect their fans and riots ensued.
The rivalry hasn’t just been limited to football, in the Australian open of 2007 both sets of fans clashed with each other. Even in 2013, in the Qualifying match, Serbian fans were banned from travelling to the stadium. The match has deep-rooted tensions that will have to be avoided at any cost if these teams meet each other.
#5 Argentina v Brazil
Probably the dream final for football fans this year because of the clash between Neymar and Messi, this rivalry has been the fiercest on pitch rivalry as far as the human memory can date back to. Pele v Maradona becomes one of the biggest talking points when these two sides meet. But historically it’s more than that.
In 1937, between their Copa America match, the Brazilian players being apprehensive of the safety left the match early. In 1982 World Cup, Maradona was sent in this game for booting a Brazilian player and later he admitted to spiking the Brazilians’ drink before their match at 1990 World Cup. Sparks are definitely set to fly if these two meet.