Competition is the most important aspect of sports. Without the presence of multiple entities competing against each other, any sport would turn into a futile, pointless spectacle. Sometimes, the competition becomes so intense, it takes the form of rivalry, and as years go by, these rivalries blossom into feuds bigger than the sports itself.
Down below are nine of the fiercest rivalries in sports:
1. Pakistan v India in Cricket
These two neighbors have been at war four times in the past 70 odd years. No wonder their rivalry in cricket is intense. Their world cup semifinal in 2011 was watched by a staggering 3 billion eyeballs.
2. Boca Juniors v River Plate in Soccer
It may not be the most glamorous of the derbies, but when Argentina’s Boca Juniors and River Plate clash it is as passionate an encounter as you’ll ever see in any sport – or even a battlefield.
3. New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox In Baseball
In 1919, the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth – the game’s greatest ever player – to the Yankees. Ruth went on to win multiple championships for the Yankees while the Red Sox endured an 86-year-long World Series drought. They’ve been hated rivals ever since.
4. Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens in Ice Hockey
When you face each other in playoffs so often as these two do, a rivalry is bound to sprout up. And the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry is just as intense in game as it is among the fans in stands.
5. Barcelona v Real Madrid in Soccer
Real Madrid represent Spanish nationalism, while Barcelona represent the separatist philosophy of Catalans, who don’t even consider themselves a part of Spain. In addition to their ideological differences, Real and Barca are two of the biggest clubs in club football, and have met each other numerous times in championship deciders. No surprises that critics rate theirs as the fiercest rivalry in sports.
6. Australia v England in Cricket
If India and Pakistan’s rivalry is more heated, Australia and England’s rivalry has twice the amount of history associated with it. These two cricketing pioneers have been battling each other since the 19th century. Their test series – The Ashes – is Cricket’s answer to El Clasico.
7. Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova in Tennis
From a sporting standpoint, this is such a one-sided matchup that there shouldn’t even be a thought of any rivalry. Serena has totally dominated Maria, winning 16 of their 18 encounters. Still, when these two clash, tempers flare up rather quickly. Even the blind can see the animosity between this pair.
8. Argentina v Brazil in Soccer
These two are neighbors as well as arguably the greatest soccer playing nations. It’s a no-brainer really for their encounters to be intense.
9. New Zealand v South Africa In Rugby
Due to South Africa’s apartheid system in the late 1940s, New Zealand’s dark skinned rugby players weren’t allowed to play on their tour, and this is where their rivalry emerged. At one point, the Springboks visit Down Under brought New Zealand to the brink of a civil war.
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