FIFA World Cup Rivalries: Which Countries Are Major World Cup Rivals?

The World Cup brings together different types of fans: those passionate about football, those who like to see only their country’s team enter the field, and those who don’t miss out on rival teams entering the field and facing each other.


If you are a fan of the rivalry of the World Cups, we have selected some that are worth it. The upcoming World Cup will feature many online sports betting markets, but that will be a discussion for another day.


Italy vs. Brazil


These two countries have a combined total of nine World Cup victories. As a result, it’s no surprise they face off regularly on the global stage. These two sides competed in the World Cup five times. Furthermore, two of these meetings occurred during the World Cup Final. 


Brazil defeated Italy in both games. Roberto Baggio notoriously missed Italy’s fifth penalty in 1994, handing Brazil the World Cup trophy.


These two have always met in the knockout or second group stages. The losing team is ousted from the competition, while the winner goes on to win it. The only exception was in 1978 when the two competed for third place.

Uruguay vs. Argentina 


The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay, involving 13 teams. All matches were played in the capital Montevideo, particularly the Centenario stadium, built especially for the tournament. The rival neighbors reached the decisive meeting with 100% success, and in the final, Uruguay prevailed, beating the rival by 4 goals to 2.


Brazil vs. Hungary


After the fateful defeat to Uruguay in the crowded Maracanã in 1950, Brazil needed to restructure itself to not do badly in the World Cup in Switzerland.  In the quarter-finals, the Brazilian team faced Hungary. In the middle of the 2nd half, the match got violent. Nilton Santos and Josef Bozsik attacked each other and were expelled. 


The fight also involved members of the technical committees, directors, photographers, and whoever else was close by. The match became known as The Battle of Bern.


Italy vs. Argentina 


In 1990, Italy and Argentina took to the field to decide who would go to the semifinals of the 1990 World Cup. Three-time champion Italy was the host, and Maradona’s Argentina sought to defend the world title won in Mexico in 1986. 


After normal time and overtime, the game went to penalties. The Argentine goalkeeper became a hero and saved Aldo Serena’s shot, qualifying the team for the second consecutive final of a World Cup.

Brazil vs. France 


Champion of the 1994 World Cup and a favorite for the title of the next tournament, Brazil was confident that it Would seal the fifth championship in 1998. The story was however different, and Brazil’s defeat to France in the 1998 World Cup remains a memory. 


The non-pick of Romário, the confusion in the lineup of Ronaldo Fenômeno, and the fateful score of 3-0, with two goals by Zidane, marked the defeat of the Brazilian team in one of the worst matches in history. And in 2006, for the quarter-finals, Brazil crossed the path of France again and once again lost its strength against the French team, with a goal from Henry.


Argentina vs. Nigeria 


These two teams met five times in the sport’s most important competition. The game was vital in 2018. With Croatia having already won the group, Nigeria and Argentina competed for a place in the round of 16.


La Albiceleste advanced to the knockout stage as Marcos Rojo scored in the 86th minute. Argentina won all five meetings in this series. However, each victory was decided by a single goal.