The Best Derbies In World Soccer Based On Nothing More Than Their Name

There’s more out there than just throwing “Clásico” around willy-nilly.

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

Asia

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. 

Perth vs. Wellington

This journey takes all day.

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.

Concacaf

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.

The Football War

Time to go to war. Photo: Wiki Commons

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. 

Europe

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. 

The Auld Enemies

Highlights of that meeting in 1872. Photo: Wiki Commons

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

South America

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.  

Rosarino

The Rabble against the Lepers. Photo: Wiki Commons

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 

Africa

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

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