Football Rivalries: History Behind Iconic Matches


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Football Rivalries: History Behind Iconic Matches

Football is probably a sport played in every country, ranging from small communities to big leagues in prominent venues. Many are fascinated with his competitive team sports that don’t have exclusive rules for all genders playing the game.

Apart its nondiscriminatory nature and the spectacular display of footballing skills each game promises, many spectators are drawn to football because of the iconic matches that feature unforgettable rivalries. Let’s explore some of the top-rated games followed by millions of football fans around the globe.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers

Chicago Bears, based in Chicago, and Green Bay Packers, based in Wisconsin, were two of the most followed clubs in the National Football League (NFL). The two prominent American football teams first met on November 27, 1921. Chicago Bears scored 20, defeating Packers with 0 points on the scoreboard.

For the record, these clubs have faced each other in 206 games, the most number of matches for any existing rivalry in the league. The Packers have the longest winning streak, with ten wins from 1994 to 1998.

Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will play in the upcoming 2023 NFL regular season. Game schedules are now available. Check them out so you can confidently bet on your NFL team in the upcoming season.

Celtic vs. Rangers

The Celtic Football Club and the Rangers Football Club are both Scottish football teams based in Glasgow. The clubs first met on May 28, 1888, for a friendly match. Celtic won the game with a score of 5-2. Moreover, Celtic has won 53 Scottish League Championships and 21 Scottish League Cups.

Meanwhile, Rangers has five Scottish Lague Championships and 27 Scottish League Cups. Overall, the two teams have encountered each other in 436 matches, with Rangers winning 169 and Celtics winning 165. The remaining 102 matches resulted in to draw.

The rivalry between Celtic and Rangers was dubbed as “Old Firm.” Celtics and Rangers were among the 11 founding teams of the Scottish Football League, making both of them “like two old, firm friends” thus, the term “Old Firm” originated.

One major factor contributing to the growing rivalry is the origin of the fans of each club. Celtic fans were mostly Irish Scots, while Rangers’ fans were native Scots.

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

FC Barcelona, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, has found its greatest rival in Real Madrid, a professional football club based in Madrid. The two clubs initially faced each other during the 1902 Copa de la CoronaciĆ³n on May 13, 1902. The total number of matches that featured Barcelona and Real Madrid was 295, with 254 official matches and 41 exhibition matches.

The largest margin between the two happened in the 1943 Copa del Rey, with Real Madrid scoring 11 against the 1 point earned by FC Barcelona. Moreover, Real Madrid holds the longest win streak in the rivalry's history, with seven consecutive wins from 1962 to 1965.

Meanwhile, FC Barcelona won five consecutive matches between 2008 to 2010. The most notable name in this sports rivalry was Leonel Messi, FB Barcelona’s team player, and top scorer in the matches he’s played in.

Manchester United vs. Manchester City

Manchester City, an English Football League in Manchester, has a long history of rivalry with Manchester United, a professional football team from Old Trafford, Greater Manchester. The historic rival involving the two legendary clubs was dubbed the “Manchester Derby.” They had their first match on November 12, 1881, with Machester United winning the game 3-0.

Their total number of meetings was 189, with Manchester winning 78 matches. In the 189 matches, Ryan Giggs of Machester City made the most player appearances, playing in 36 matches. The latest match with the largest margin happened in 2011, favoring Manchester City 6-1.

Meanwhile, Manchester United has the longest winning streak, winning eight matches between 1993 to 2000.

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal Football Club-Tottenham Hotspur Football Club rivalry was the most popular sports rivalry in North London. Thus, it was dubbed the “North London Derby.” The two clubs first met during the Football League First Division on December 4, 1909.

During their initial match, Arsenal won against Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 1-0. The total number of matches that the two have played in was 193. Eighty-one of which was won by Arsenal, while Tottenham won 61 matches. The remaining 51 games were drawn.

The top scorer in the rivalry’s history was Harry Kane of Tottenham with 14 goals. Meanwhile, the player with the most appearances was David O'Leary of Arsenal, with 35 games featuring him. The largest margin of victory in this sports feud was the Football League First Division on March 5, 1935, favoring Arsenal 6-0.

Liverpool vs. Everton

Called the “Merseyside Derby,” the football feud between Everton Football Club and Liverpool Football Club was considered one of the most followed rivalries in Liverpool, England.

The two clubs first interacted during the 1894-1895 Football League on October 13, 1984. They met in 242 matches, 98 of which were won by Liverpool. The rivalry was rooted in the fact that there’s less than a mile distance between the home grounds of the two, the proximity making the “territory” issue even bigger.

Neville Southall, Everton’s goalkeeper, was the player with the most appearances in the matches involving the two clubs. The largest victory recorded in the rivalry’s history was in favor of Liverpool, scoring 6-0.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, football is a sport known by many. Different clubs and leagues are popular in many countries. More than the excellent display of footballing skills, football fans are drawn to leagues and matches because of the extended rivalries that have endured through many generations.

Our list has included a few of the most memorable football feuds there are. In history, their matches have made the headlines and pleased many fans across different countries.

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