In 1967 legendary sports journalist Gianni Brera was looking for superlatives to describe the intense rivalry between two of the country’s biggest clubs; Juventus and Internazionale of Milan. He named the contest the “Derby d’Italia” and this fixture, which has developed into one of the biggest games in European football, has been called it ever since.
Friday night (7.30pm) sees the latest instalment as the Nerazzurri travel to Turin to face a Juventus side who are threatening of running away with the Serie A championship. Over the years and even before Brera penned his infamous phrase, this game has never been far from controversy, so here’s five matches that has defined this truly heavyweight contest.
JUVENTUS 9-1 INTER, JUNE 10 1961
There’s no real starting point for this rivalry but one thing’s for sure, season 1960-61 could lay strong claim as to the moment Inter began to really despise their Turin counterparts.
Having already won 3-1 at the San Siro in December, Inter thought they’d done the double on Juventus when the reverse fixture was abandoned due to a pitch invasion by Bianconeri fans. Inter were promptly awarded a 2-0 win and the title looked like being theirs, but when Juve challenged the decision the Italian football federation relented and announced that the match would be replayed.
At the time of the announcement, both teams were level on points at the top of the table but with Inter now effectively losing two points (as it was still two points for a win in 60-61) Juve were now out on their own as Serie A leaders.
The psychological damage was done and Inter lost their next game at Catania while Juventus earned a point at home to Bari to win the title. Ahead of the rearranged fixture, Inter President Angelo Moratti instructed coach Helenio Herrera to field a youth team in protest which he did and who were promptly despatched 9-1; the biggest winning margin in the history of this fixture.
JUVENTUS 1-0 INTER, APRIL 26 1998
When Italian parliament has to be suspended due to the result of a football match then you know things have got pretty serious, but that’s exactly what happened 20 years ago and this particular game still rankles with all Nerazzurii fans.
In short; Brazilian striker Ronaldo, then at the peak of his powers, looked certain to draw Inter level after Alessandro Del Piero had given Juventus the lead. Bianconeri defender Gianluca Pessotto collided with the Brazilian in the penalty area, but play was incredibly waved on. Juventus went straight up the other end and Taribo West, no doubt contemplating his next horrendous hairdo, scythed down Del Piero who promptly got up and missed the resulting spot-kick.
A few days later, parliament was brought to a halt when Domenico Gramazio of the far-right National Alliance, attacked ex-Juve player and Democrats deputy Massimo Mauro.
INTER 2-2 JUVENTUS, DECEMBER 3 2000
In the summer of 2000, Inter had smashed their transfer record by signing Italian international striker Christian ‘Bobo’ Vieri from Lazio.
Having reportedly snubbed a move to Turin in favour of the San Siro, Vieri was out to prove a point against Carlo Ancelotti’s Bianconeri side. Things started badly for Vieri and company however, when David Trezeguet and Zinedine Zidane fired the visitors into a two-goal lead. French star Lauren Blanc then pulled a goal back for Inter, before Vieri thought he’d levelled the contest with a header that flew past Juve keeper Edwin van der Sar.
The referee chalked it off however, adjudging the big striker to have used excessive force in getting aerial. In the second-half, Alvaro Recoba broke down the right before crossing into the box where Vieri was stood all alone, four yards out with an open goal. Bobo then somehow managed to fire his shot over the bar to the embarrassment of himself and his team-mates.
Shortly after, with van der Sar still pissing himself after Vieri’s howler, Luigi Di Biaggio’s long range effort took a wicked deflection to give Inter a point. Those dropped points by Juventus ultimately cost them the title which was won by AS Roma by yes, you’ve guessed it, two points.
— Proper footy vids (@properfootyvids) December 3, 2018
INTER 1-1 JUVENTUS, OCTOBER 19 2002
This game has gone down in Inter folklore as the “Toldo game” following the goalkeeper’s stoppage time equaliser which gave his side a share of the points. With the score goalless going into the 88th minute, a controversial Alessandro Del Piero penalty looked to have given Juventus all three points but when Hernan Crespo won an injury-time corner, goalkeeper Francesco Toldo made his way into the opposition penalty area.
From the resulting flag-kick, chaos ensued in the Juve box with Toldo’s knee making the final contact with the ball to nudge it over the line. A look at the Juventus history books credits that goal to Christian Vieri, but despite his own personal horror show two year earlier; even Bobo had to admit his goalie had got the final touch.
JUVENTUS 1-3 INTER, NOVEMBER 3 2012
Nobody gave the Nerazzurri any hope when they headed to Turin in November 2012 to face a Juventus side that had gone 49 games unbeaten in Serie A. 20 seconds into the contest, their worst fears were realised when Arturo Vidal gave the hosts the lead.
Rookie Coach Andrea Stramaccioni, a dead-ringer for the Bob Ferris character in The Likely Lads, had been criticised pre-match for starting the game with a three-man forward line which was two really, as one of those forwards was Antonio Cassano. Incredibly in the second-half, Stramaccioni’s gamble paid off when his two good strikers, Diego Milito (2) and Rodrigo Palacio, netted to give Inter one of their most famous victories against The Old Lady.