The odd mix between respect and hate (1 Viewer)


Bedpan racing champion
Jul 25, 2001
LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- No need to look for that extra edge when Germany plays the Netherlands or Portugal meets neighbour Spain at Euro 2004. The mix of historic grudges, cultural animosity and football enmity will be there for all to see. France and England have also had their deep-rooted quarrels and it is no different for Denmark and Sweden.

And by the luck of the draw, the first round which opens Saturday will add new chapters to all those rivalries.

"Portugal vs. Spain is our fight against the giants," said local fan Lionel Neves ahead of the June 20 clash between the Iberian rivals.

Few (if any) football rivalries are bigger than the one between Germany and the Netherlands and players who grew up on those historic games know what will be expected on Tuesday.

"Emotions at home are high," said striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. "History plays a part -- soccer history and history itself, that's why it's so loaded."

World War II may have ended 60 years ago, but it still has an effect on football. Dutch fans -- revisiting days when the Nazis impounded Dutch bicycles and melted them down for arms -- love to shout from the stands: "I want my bike back!"

On the pitch too, bitterness often abounds. The Dutch are still known as the greatest team never to win a World Cup and they can blame the Germans.

The Dutch had their best squad in 1974 with Johan Cruyff as playmaker but lost to Germany in the final on a controversial penalty which is still hotly disputed and often called the best dive in history.

Fourteen years later the Dutch earned some revenge when they beat the Germans at home on a last-minute goal from Marco van Basten and went on to win the European Championship.

Current Germany coach Rudi Völler and Dutchman Frank Rijkaard were famously involved in a spitting flareup at the 1990 World Cup after both were sent off. Germany won and went on to earn its third World Cup.

Portugal may open the tournament against Greece on Saturday, but many already have their eyes on the June 20 game against Spain, an encounter which could decide who goes into the quarterfinal.

"In that case, it will be life or death," said Neves.

Overriding the first-round outcome however is a sense of history and culture which divides the peninsula.

"Neither good winds nor good marriages come from Spain," grumbled Eduardo Carrilho at his newspaper stand close to the mighty Tagus river, reciting a popular saying.

The winds dry out Portuguese crops and the marriage refers to the 16th century when Spain ruled over its neighbour and mixed marriages were considered the ultimate treason. It is more proof a mere football match brings an abundance of feelings to the surface.

"The game against Spain is the one that will motivate the players," Carrilho said.

All so often, the smaller countries have the most bitter feelings, and memories of victory are the most vivid.

Spain may have the world's most successful club in Real Madrid. But in Lisbon everybody still remembers a 5-1 European Cup victory of Benfica over the Spanish rival in 1965.

Carrilho was only four at the time, but still speaks about it as if it were yesterday. "One player fainted and still got up to score a goal," he said, the memory bringing a smile to his face.

And even when the head-to-head matches are 16-6-12 in favour of Spain, some Portuguese refuse to see a logic behind it.

"They are not better than us, they are luckier," said fan Joao Duarte.

Over the past years though, there has been some mellowing in many of the rivalries.

Portugal's biggest star, Luis Figo, plies his trade for Real Madrid now, forcing people to take a second look. "We should not confuse sports with personal interest," said Neves.

And after their spitting standoff in 1990, Rijkaard and Völler came together and made a goodwill advertisement together.


World War II may have ended 60 years ago, but it still has an effect on football. Dutch
fans -- revisiting days when the Nazis impounded Dutch bicycles and melted them down for
arms -- love to shout from the stands: "I want my bike back!"
That's humour innit? :D

Buy on


Back & Quack
Mar 9, 2004
I hope us krauts here will beat you odd holland voodoo doll people.

Ohne Holland, Fahren zu EM! :cool:

But still i support italia all the way.:)


Sep 23, 2003
That Portugal-Spain stuff reminds me a little of the L.A.-S.F. rivalry you get here. Contrary to the many who might believe S.F., like all of California, is a suburb of L.A. (by about 650km) -- S.F. fans (and residents for that matter) almost universally detest the L.A. constituents to the south. L.A., on the hand, hardly seems to give a damn.

Meanwhile, as if a "unified" Spain actually cares about international play... there it's all about the Catalans, the Basques, the Galicians, etc. So you can forget the Portuguese.

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