No sport does rivalries quite like soccer. In terms of proximity, history, passion and the genuine animosity these conditions create, the biggest derbies and grudge matches in world soccer make the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears look more like the World Stone Skimming Championship.
The allure of great derbies is intensified by the glamor of their respective titles. Everyone knows about the Superclásico between Boca Juniors and River Plate and the myriad of spinoffs it’s created (El Clásico, Der Klassiker, El Kasico, El Súper Clásico, Le Classique), while the most traditional naming method is to simply define the city or area that’s divided (Manchester Derby, North London Derby, Derby de Lisboa, Derby della Capitale).
But there are some rivalry matches that defy convention. Here are some of the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing monikers around.
The Best Derby Names In World Football
The Distance Derby: Perth Glory vs. Wellington Phoenix
When Perth and Wellington meet in the A-League, you’re looking at the longest away trip in top-level football: 3,247 miles. This would be like a team in London playing against a Kyrgyzstan side in Central Asia.
The Big Blue: Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney FC
As well as both sides wearing the color, “Blue” can be slang for a fight or brawl in Australia.
Malaysian Giants Clash: Selangor vs. Johor Darul Ta'zim FC
Boro Match (“Big Match”): East Bengal vs. ATK Mohan Bagan
Blockade Derby: Qatar vs. Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates
The result of the Qatar diplomatic crisis in 2017 resulted in the country being banned from utilizing airspace and sea routes, as well as Saudi Arabia blocking Qatar’s only land crossing.
Konghanzheng: China vs. South Korea
Translated as “Korea-fearing disease” since these nations have met 35 times and China has only won twice.
The Football War: Honduras vs. El Salvador
Tensions between the two countries reached a climax during a 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifier, which resulted in El Salvador dissolving all diplomatic ties with Honduras and a brief war.
Trench Town Derby: Arnett Gardens vs. Boys’ Town
Two of Jamaica’s top Red Stripe Premier League clubs get after it in the birthplace of rocksteady and reggae music.
Clásico Tapatío: Chivas vs. Atlas
As two Guadalajara-based clubs, “Tapatío” comes from the colloquial term for someone from the city’s downtown area, but it also evokes sensations of huevos rancheros covered in delicious hot sauce.
Clásico Más Añejo: Olimpia vs. Guaraní
Dylan Wolpers Derby: Houston Dynamo vs. Minnesota United
Maybe the only rivalry that’s actually just a meme.
Hell Is Real Derby: Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati
El Tráfico: LA Galaxy vs. LAFC
Two Solitudes Derby: CF Montreal vs. Toronto FC
Refers to the perceived lack of communication between French and English-speaking Canadians.
The Auld Enemies: England vs. Scotland
The oldest international fixture in the world with the first contest being played in 1872. They’ve gone on to meet an additional 113 times with England winning 48 and Scotland 41.
Miners Strike Derby: Chesterfield vs. Mansfield Town
War of the Roses: Leeds United vs. Manchester United
Old Firm: Celtic vs. Rangers
Second City Derby: Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City
Dockers Derby: Millwall vs. West Ham
Railroaders Derby: Lokomotiv Plovdiv vs. Lokomotiv Sofia
Flemish Derby: Anderlecht vs. Club Brugge
The Adidas vs. Puma Derby: ASV Herzgogenaurach vs. FC Herzogenaurach
The German town of Herzogegenaurach is home to both the headquarters of Adidas and Puma, with ASV being tied to Adidas and FC with Puma.
Revierderby: Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke
North-South Summit (Nord-Süd-Gipfel): Bayern Munich vs. Hamburger SV
Double-Headed Eagles Derby: AEK Athens vs. PAOK Thessaloniki
The Mother Of All Battles: Olympiakos vs. Panathinaikos
Munster Derby: Limerick FC vs. Cork City
The "All The Other Rivalries Are Banal" Derby: Hapoel Beer Sheva vs. Maccabi Netanya
Derby della Lanterna (“Derby of the Lighthouse”): Genoa vs. Sampdoria
Derby della Madonna (“Derby of the Madonna”): Inter vs. Milan
Duchy Derby: Piacenza vs. Parma
De Topper: Ajax vs. PSV
De Kraker: PSV vs. Feyenoord
El Gran Derbi: Sevilla vs. Real Betis
O noso derbi (“Our Derby”): Celta Vigo vs. Deportivo La Coruña
Derby of the 50 Meters: Salamanca CF vs. Unionistas
This is how far apart the two teams’ stadiums are in Salamanca.
Choc des Olympiques: Lyon vs. Marseille
Battle of the teams with “Olympique” in their names.
Derby del Sole (“Derby of the Sun”): Napoli vs. Roma
The Brotherly Derby: Albania vs. Kosovo
Clásico Rosarino: Rosario Central vs. Newell’s Old Boys
A match contested between la Canalla (“the Rabble”) and la Lepra (“The Lepers”). The nicknames date back to a leprosy charity match in which Rosario refused to play and Newell’s took their place.
Brazil — As the home to all things romantic in football, Brazil has quite a few select rivalries.
The Soybean Classic: Luverdense vs. Sorriso
The Black Rooster Derby: São Raimundo vs. Sul América
The Fla-Flu: Flamengo vs. Fluminense
Clássico da Saudade (“The Good Times Classic”): Santos vs. Palmeiras
Majestoso (“The Majestic”): Corinthians vs. São Paulo
Choque-Rei (“The King Strike”): Palmeiras vs. São Paulo
O Clássico dos Milhões (“The Classic of Millions”): Flamengo vs. Vasco
Clássico da Técnica e da Disciplina (“The Classic of Technique and Discipline”): Náutico vs. América
Clássico das Emoções (“The Classic of Emotions”): Santa Cruz vs. Náutico
The Peak: Al Ahly vs. Zamalek
Leadership of the Canal: Al-Masry SC vs. Ismaily SC
A meeting between two Egyptian clubs located in the Suez Canal region.
Battle of Zimbabwe: Highlanders vs. Dynamos FC
Neighbors Meeting: Club Africain vs. Espérance