What Makes a Great Soccer Rivalry?

“On June 14, the Austrian and Hungarian national teams met for the 138th time, making it the second-most-contested rivalry in soccer. For me, and possibly only me and a few other history teachers, Austria vs. Hungary was a matchup of great historical import, not because of any understanding on my part of any of these 137 previous games, but because, come on, there used to be an Austria-Hungary, or, if you prefer, an Austro-Hungarian Empire. There had to be some bad blood between the two nations that used to be one big empire and might still be if it weren’t for nationalism and World War I. I’m a history teacher by trade, so what could possibly be better than this?” Slate (Video)

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