Inter vs Juventus rivalry history: Why is it called the Derby d’Italia?

Inter vs Juventus is one of the biggest games and rivalries in Italian football, but why is the fixture named the Derby d'Italia?


As two of the most successful clubs in the history of Italian football, when Lega Serie A announce the fixture schedule ahead of a new campaign, Inter vs Juventus is one of the first games fans will search the calendar for. Its importance cannot be overstated, and it is a fixture that has often helped decide the destination of the Scudetto.

However, when the Nerazzurri defeated the Bianconeri in the 2022 Coppa Italia final, it was the first time they had contested the showpiece fixture since 1965, and just the third time in history. The first Coppa Italia final between the pair took place in 1959.

Juventus’ Federico Chiesa up against Inter. (@juventusfc)

Why is Inter vs Juventus called the Derby d’Italia?

Although rise of AC Milan during the late 1980s eventually ended the dominant duopoly Juventus and Inter had over Italian football, the early triumphs of the Nerazzurri and Bianconeri helped generate the fixtures’ nickname.

Eventually, though, Milan would go on to establish themselves as a side every bit as big as the other two, even becoming Italy’s most successful club in Europe.

With the Serie A trophy regularly resting within the clutches of the Old Lady and the Nerazzurri during the first half of the 20th century, and just 90 miles separating Turin and Milan, it was in 1967 that La Gazzetta Dello Sport journalist Gianni Brera proclaimed it the Derby d’Italia in celebration of Italy’s most successful teams.

Filip Kostic strikes for Juventus against Inter. [@juventusfcen]

Inter vs Juventus: 1997/98 title decider marred by controversy

With four games of the 1997/98 Serie A campaign remaining, Inter travelled to Juventus trailing them at the top of the standings by one point, and midway through the first period found themselves behind to an Alessandro Del Piero goal.

A series of questionable decisions by referee Piero Ceccarini climaxed when waving away a Nerazzurri penalty appeal, after Mark Iuliano committed a brutal foul on Ronaldo late in the game. To make matters worse, the Bianconeri broke immediately upfield and were awarded a spot kick.

While Del Piero missed, Inter’s season collapsed. Juventus went on to lift the Scudetto and opposite sides of Italian politics even came to physical blows in parliament.

The aggrieved Nerazzurri-supporting politicians found vindication a few years later though, when the Old Lady were punished for influencing referees as part of the Calciopoli scandal and fell into Serie B.


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