These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022

The recently concluded World Cup 2022 in Qatar generated a lot of buzz around the participating football clubs, their players, and the sport overall. Of course, one team came out on top and proved to be the best in the world – until the next World Cup, that is. 

These teams sometimes have longstanding rivalries with one another, especially as things tend to get heated between opposing clubs. Interested to know which rivalries spiced up the Qatar World Cup? Check out this list of the most exciting football rivalries of 2022. 

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: Simpli Faster

Argentina vs France

These two countries may not have a rivalry that is as intense as Argentina’s most legendary rival in Brazil, but the 2022 World Cup final match put every football fan at the edge of their seats. However, even before this, Argentina and France have had a long-standing rivalry in World Cup competitions. 

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: The Wall Street Journal

The storied rivalry between these two began in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, which ended in a win for Argentina. After this, the two national teams played in several friendly games including the 1978 and 2018 World Cups, as well as the Brazil Independence Cup. They have faced off against each other 12 times over the years. 

Croatia vs Morocco

There is no true rivalry between Croatia and Morocco because the two sides have never faced off in a World Cup. The only previous meeting between the teams was in the group stage in Qatar, which ended in a draw of 0-0. 

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: Sporting News

Both sides are regarded as underdogs in the competition and are not among the favorites to win the World Cup, which is why it came as a surprise when the two teams reached the semi-finals. While Morocco suffered a loss in the 2022 World Cup, this match is still one for the books for the team because it is the first African country to enter the semi-finals. 

With Morocco's semi-final loss against France and Croatia's loss to Argentina, the teams were matched up for the third-place match where Croatia won, coming in third, with Morocco finishing fourth. 

Brazil vs South Korea

One thing that Brazil and South Korea have in common is that the two countries love football. Brazil is considered a powerhouse in the sport, and has been competing since 1930, winning the World Cup final five times. While South Korea does not have such a striking record, it is the only Asian team to enter the semi-finals in 2002. 

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: Forbes

The two countries have faced each other in seven games. Brazil has won six out of the seven, with South Korea snagging a win in one friendly game in 1999. Brazil once again beat South Korea 4-1 in their match in the 2022 World Cup. After this win, Brazil was one of the popular bets for the cup and was expected to go against Argentina for the championship. 

Unfortunately, Brazil was eliminated by Croatia in a quarter-final game. Nevertheless, South Korea has been putting up a fight against Brazil since 1995 across different matches including International Friendlies and the 1997 Nike World Tour. Notably, the 2022 match is the first time the two faced off in a FIFA World Cup. 

Germany vs Japan

Another heavy contender alongside Brazil and Argentina is Germany, which has participated in 20 World Cup tournaments. The country has even snagged the trophy four times, in 1954, 1974, 1990, and 2014, making them a crowd favorite.

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: Flipboard

Meanwhile, Japan only entered the World Cup in 1998 and has no history of winning the cup. The two teams have had the opportunity to face off in two friendly games, particularly in 2004 and 2006, which ended in Germany winning 3-0 and a draw with a final score of 2-2, respectively. This brief history is why some fans were surprised when Japan beat Germany during the group E stage, 2-1. 

What made this match more remarkable is that while Germany was heavily favored, Japan received a lot of praise because of the behavior of Japanese fans. Japanese nationals went viral when they were seen cleaning up the area after the match. Japan made it to the final 16, where they were knocked out by Croatia. 

Japan vs Spain

It seems that Japan was on a roll for this World Cup tournament because the team beat another popular contender – Spain. This win happened in the group E stage, ending 2-1 in favor of Japan. 

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: BeIN Sports

After beating Germany and Spain, Japan played in the round of 16 against Croatia, while Spain matched with Morocco. Unfortunately, the two failed to secure a win. While Japan has only been in the World Cup since 1998, Spain has been participating since 1934. Since then, the team has been climbing the ranks, reaching 4th place as early as 1950. 

However, it only reached the finals in 2010. Spain secured its first cup in the 2010 World Cup which was held in South Africa. It is yet to secure its second cup, but it is one of the only eight countries that successfully snagged the World Cup. 

USA vs England

The 1950 World Cup in Brazil saw the first meeting between the US and England national teams, two countries that have a pretty long history in football and real life. England was a strong contender at that time, so it came as a huge surprise when the United States won 1-0. 

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: PennLive

Because England was one of the tournament favorites and the US was not seen as a good squad at the time, the game is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. England has dominated the US eight times since then. However, the US won over England in a friendly game in 1993. 

The competition between the two proved to be fierce in the 2022 World Cup when they faced each other in the group B stage, which ended in a draw. It is definitely interesting to see how these teams perform the next time when facing off. 

Saudi Arabia vs Argentina

As most football fans know, Argentina was one of the strongest contenders in this tournament and went on to win the championship. What is fascinating about this win is that Argentina faced a shocking defeat by Saudi Arabia in the group C stage. Luckily for Argentina, they ended up being the only team in the group to the round of 16.

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: Ace Football

This is one of the biggest upsets in the tournament because, prior to this loss, Argentina had been maintaining a winning streak of 36 games. 

The sheer shock made this match pretty thrilling, making it one of the most exciting matches in the 2022 World Cup. 

Cameroon vs Brazil

The final notable rivalry on this list of the 2022 World Cup is the one between Cameroon and Brazil, which dates back to 1994 when the two faced each other in a World Cup tournament. Brazil, being one of the teams with the most solid records, won 3-0. The two teams have faced off a few times in friendly games, the Confederations Cup, and a total of four times at World Cup tournaments. 

These Were the Most Exciting Football Rivalries of 2022
Image Source: CNET

Brazil won three out of these games, with Cameroon winning the match during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. They met once again in the 2014 World Cup, but as expected, Brazil won 4-1. Although they have only met twice in the World Cup, the fact the two have faced each other several times creates a sense of rivalry between the teams.  

In a surprising turn of events, Cameroon beat Brazil in the group G stage 1-0. While this is only the early stage, this win is huge for the country because it is the first time that an African team beat Brazil at a World Cup game. 

The Bottom Line

Football has always been an exciting sport, but team rivalries definitely add to the thrill of it all. The 2022 World Cup is no different, especially with various tight competitions and long-standing conflicts between football clubs. 


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