Football Language: Needle
Needle is a non-countable noun. Needle is a feeling of hostility towards an opponent. It could be a personal rivalry, when a player does not like another player. It can also refer to when there is hostility, dislike, between two teams. If there is needle, it is stronger than rivalry, as it includes a feeling of dislike.
Example: Stoke’s alleged roughhouse tactics, Wenger’s protests and the Ryan Shawcross tackle that broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg in 2010 have created genuine needle between the two sides. (The Telegraph, May 2017)
Example: Austria captain Christian Fuchs admitted “there is needle given the history between the countries” (Austria and Hungary). (The Guardian, June 2016)