They call it the Italian derby, according to a definition that seems to go back to Gianni Brera and which is poorly tolerated by the AC Milan fans, but beyond the names, there is no doubt that the match between Juventus and Inter is one of the most heartfelt – if not absolute. the hottest – of our football championship.
The rivalry between the Bianconeri and the Nerazzurri was born around the 1930s, when the Turin team began to present itself as one of the most solid nationally (the five consecutive league titles of the “five-year golden” between 1930 and 1935 are celebrated), undermining the dominance of the then Ambrosiana Inter; but it is above all in the postwar period that the two teams have proposed themselves more often as the main antagonists in the fight for the Scudetto, thanks to the fact that they were the most successful and those with the widest supporters.
The periods of the most heated rivalry were probably two: on the one hand the sixties, with Sivori’s Juventus confronting (and giving way to) Helenio Herrera’s Inter; on the other hand, the years between the nineties and the 2000s, when the center of attention was the refereeing controversy, the penalty kicks given and not given, offside goals and the Calciopoli scandal.
Here we are not interested in agreeing to one or the other team, nor in reviving the controversy; we deal with beautiful things, and therefore we are interested in sports stories, not recriminations. For this reason, we will try to tell the best-known matches of this clash paying more attention to facts and enterprises, to emotions and disappointments than to complaints and sports justice; as will be evident, however, such a story cannot fail to mention at least some issues and some controversies, because the history of Juve-Inter has always been linked to this too.
Inter – Juventus 6-0
April 4, 1954: the Game That Decided the Championship
The almanacs are full of tight matches and actually ugly ones between Juventus and Internazionale; some races, however, saw one of the two teams clearly prevail, sometimes even beyond all expectations. One of these is the match that was played on April 4, 1954, at San Siro, which ended with a round result of 6-0 for the Nerazzurri.
THE ABANDONMENT OF THE BOLT
Let’s start from the premises. In 1952 Inter had won their first Scudetto after 13 years of abstinence thanks to the bolt of coach Alfredo Foni, but in 1953/54 the same Foni, pressed by the critics who did not like such a defensive tactic, adopted a more sparkling form, which allowed the Milanese to score many more goals (at the end of the year there were 67 out of 34 games played) but which at the same time weakened them in defense.
Right from the start, there were two opponents for the title: on the one hand, Aldo Olivieri’s Juventus, who had finished in second place the previous year, just two points behind, and on the other, Fulvio Bernardini’s surprising Fiorentina, who together with Juve and Inter he grabbed the title of winter champion and collapsed only in the very last weeks of the tournament.
In the first leg in Turin, on November 22, Juve and Inter had split the stakes with a nice 2-2; on April 4 they met again, this time in Milan, in a match that – despite the fact that there were still 7 games to go until the end of the tournament – could already be decisive (and in the end it really was, because Juve closed the championship at only one point of distance from the Nerazzurri).
THE DOUBLETS OF SKOGLUND AND BRIGHENTI
Inter took the field with players who are often forgotten today: the forward was the Swedish Lennart Skoglund, who scored twice, but Sergio Brighenti, Osvaldo Fattori and Bruno Mazza also shone in the team; Juventus instead revolved in the attack around Giampiero Boniperti and in midfield relied on the talent of Ermes Puccinelli.
The game was without history: Inter took the lead already in the seventh minute with Skoglund, with the defense of Juve practically stopped to claim for an offside not whistled (the controversy, as you can see, had already begun then); then, in the 30th minute, Gino Armano doubled in the scrum, while the first half ended with Muccinelli’s injury, which further curbed the Juventus hopes of a comeback. In the second half, then, the hosts spread: Brighenti scored twice, again Skoglund and finally Fulvio Nesti, for the roundest Nerazzurri victory in the history of the Italian derby.
Juventus – Inter 9-1
June 10, 1961: the Decision of the Caf and the Protest of Moratti and Herrera
If there had been some timid controversy in 1954, the real rivalry in the press and with appeals broke out in 1961, when Juventus and Inter were about to become battleships that aimed to dominate not only in Italy but also in Europe. . In fact, the most famous match between the bianconeri and the Nerazzurri dates back to 10 June 1961, before the one played at the end of the 90s.
BONIPERTI, CHARLES AND SIVORI AGAINST HELENIO HERRERA
Here too, let’s first take stock of the situation. Juventus had won its first start with the scudetto won in 1958, and then repeated itself in 1960, thanks to a stellar attack based on the veteran Boniperti, the Welsh John Charles, and the imaginative Argentine Omar Sivori; Inter, for its part, had been in the hands of Angelo Moratti since 1955, who in 1960 had hired Helenio Herrera, former coach of Barcelona and the Spanish national team, even though the team was still in full reconstruction.
In the 1960/61 championship the bianconeri – who had changed coaches with the arrival of the Swede (and former Milan legend) Gunnar Gren – started very badly, dropping to sixth place, while at the top of the standings Inter and Rome initially alternated, with the Nerazzurri who won the title of winter champions quite easily. In the second round, however, things changed considerably: Juventus finally found their shape and began the run-up to the leaders, who in the meantime also lost points unexpectedly (they were even defeated by Lecco and, at home, by Padua). On April 16, on the eve of the Juventus-Inter match that was to be played in Turin, the Bianconeri were now at the top of the standings, while the Nerazzurri had also been overtaken by Milan.
The April match began regularly but never came to an end: the Comunale was sold out, but a substantial amount of people had entered without tickets, crowding on the edges of the pitch. Inter, among other things, started very well, threatening the Juventus goal several times, and perhaps this made the situation unbearable: the referee Gambarotta, worried about a possible invasion of the field and for his and the players’ safety. , decided to suspend the game.
THE DOUBLE OFFICE OF UMBERTO AGNELLI
Inter immediately got the 2-0 at the table due to the strict liability of Juventus, but the bianconeri appealed to the Federal Appeals Commission (the famous CAF), which decided to overturn the decision and have the match replayed. Great controversies were unleashed, above all due to the conflict of interests of Umberto Agnelli, who was at the time president of the Juventus club and at the same time of the FIGC.
The match was thus played again on 10 June, when the championship was now over and the result of the clash had become irrelevant: Juventus had already mathematically won the Scudetto, and Inter, even if they had triumphed in Turin, would have exceeded the Milan in second place. The fact that made that match sensational, however, was the form of protest fielded by the Nerazzurri: to emphasize what they considered a blatant injustice, Moratti, and Herrera sent the Primavera team onto the field, which they lost 9-1 (with six goals from Sivori, which would later win the Ballon d’Or). Two curiosities: the goal of the Inter flag was scored, on a penalty, by Sandro Mazzola, the only member of that formation of kids who would then move on to wear the jersey of the “greats”, becoming a pillar of Herrera’s own team; finally, that was the last match of Boniperti, who retired immediately after that match.
Inter – Juventus 1-2
April 29, 1984: Platini, Boniek, Rossi’s Triumph for Juve
Let’s get closer to the present day and take a leap to the 80s, an era all in all low in successes for Inter (at least until the rebirth at the end of the decade) and instead of a great dusting on Juventus, which could count on champions of the caliber of Michel Platini (top scorer of the tournament in 1984, for the second consecutive season, and then European champion with his France), Paolo Rossi, Gaetano Scirea and Giovanni Trapattoni on the bench; the main rival of the bianconeri in those seasons was in fact not Inter Milan or Milan, but Roma, which lived a few years as an absolute protagonist.
GIGI RADICE’S INTER
Nonetheless, Inter could field a respectable formation, which in a few years would turn into a battleship: Luigi Radice sat on the bench, who with his all-out pressing had made Turin great again at the end. of the previous decade and then briefly led Milan too; on the pitch were champions such as Walter Zenga in goal, Giuseppe Bergomi and Fulvio Collovati in defense, Salvatore Bagni, Evaristo Beccalossi, and the German international Hansi Müller in midfield and Alessandro Altobelli and Aldo Serena in the attack.
The two teams met in Turin on 18 December for the first leg, with Juventus able to win with a decisive 2-0. On 29 April it was therefore the turn of the return match, this time at the Meazza, in a challenge that could become decisive for the fate of the championship: Juventus had in fact gone to Rome just two weeks earlier for the direct clash against the most dangerous of her pursuers, and had managed to bring home the 0-0; the Giallorossi – among other things, titleholders and future Champions Cup finalists – remained just a few points behind and a defeat in Milan would have rekindled their hopes.
Inter came to the match on a positive streak, detached in the league only because of a deficient first round; among other things, new life was given to the environment in those days by the announcement, made by the new president Pellegrini, of the purchase of Karl-Heinz Rumenigge, vice world champion and undisputed star of Bayern Munich. Juve, on the other hand, risked being tired, because they had just played the Cup Winners’ Cup semifinal, eliminating Manchester United but at the same time losing Tardelli, replaced in midfield by Cesare Prandelli.
THE FIRST HALF WAS SPECTACULAR FOR THE BIANCONERI
In spite of expectations, Juventus played one of their best games ever at the Meazza: already at the twenty-fourth Cabrini scored with a razor from outside the area, while thirteen minutes later it was Platini, taking advantage of a good assist from Boniek and the unmarking of Rossi, to sign the doubling on the outgoing Zenga. Before the break, however, Inter made up for it: on a long cross in the Juventus area, Gentile and Altobelli physically dueled; the referee Agnolin decreed the penalty kick for the hosts, which was created by “Spillo”.
The second half saw Juventus try to put in the third goal in the first few minutes, but then go out at a distance, and Inter nearly equalized on a couple of occasions. But the match ended 2-1, sanctioning the victory of the scorers for Platini and effectively closing the championship, with Juventus mathematically winning the championship the following Sunday thanks to a draw in Avellino.
Juventus – Inter 1-0
April 26, 1998: the Match Between Mark Iuliano and Ronaldo
In April 1998, the most controversial match ever between Juventus and Inter took place, a match that caused the fans to spill liters of ink and animate the fans for years, which even provoked parliamentary questions, accusations, inquiries, and endless recriminations. On the other hand, never as at the end of the 90s did Juventus and Inter really fight, and practically without rivals, for the Scudetto.
TWO TEAMS THAT ALSO DOMINATED IN EUROPE
Juventus was that of Marcello Lippi, capable of winning two league titles in the three previous championships, as well as a Champions League and two other finals (one in that same season), lost to Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid; Inter was instead that of Gigi Simoni and above all of Massimo Moratti, who had made important investments to bring the Nerazzuri to excel in Italy and Europe: for the record sum of 48 billion in the summer, the Golden Ball, Ronaldo had arrived. , but the team had also strengthened with the purchase of Diego Pablo Simeone, Benoit Cauet, and Francesco Moriero (and it was no coincidence that they would have won the Uefa Cup).
The championship had been very balanced right from the start: already on the third day, Inter had tried to escape, reaching the top of the ranking and maintaining the record until mid-January, when a home defeat with Bari made them lose the position in favor of a Juventus corsair in Bologna. In April, however, when Inter turned up in Turin there were only four days to go and the Bianconeri’s advantage was only one point: a possible victory for the Nerazzurri would have meant an incredible blow for the hosts.
Juventus took the field with their best team, namely Peruzzi, Torricelli, Montero, Iuliano, Pessotto, Davids, Deschamps, Di Livio, Zidane, Del Piero and Inzaghi (plus Conte took over from the bench); Inter responded with Pagliuca, Fresi, Colonnese, West, Zanetti, Moriero, Winter, Cauet, Simeone, Djorkaeff and Ronaldo (plus Zamorano from the bench).
CECCARINI’S CONTROVERSIAL ARBITRATION
The match was refereed by Piero Ceccarini, a highly respected international, and at first he slipped away quite smoothly: a Del Piero that year in a great form signed the 1-0 already in the first half, taking advantage of a series of defensive indecisions, and in the first half Inter’s attack seemed quite inconclusive. It was for this reason that, in the second half, Simoni decided to send Zamorano into the field, at that time a luxury bench for the Milanese, often able to resolve matches by taking over a game in progress. Just on his insertion in the area, the ball shot from the parts of Ronaldo, who promptly pounced on it, preceding the Juventus defender Iuliano, who however made a strange movement halfway between the obstruction and the block, almost like a player of basketball, ending up landing the Brazilian champion.
The Inter fans immediately clamored for the penalty, but Ceccarini let him play; the ball was swept away and within seconds it arrived on the other side of the pitch, where Del Piero managed to bring it into the Nerazzurri area and was sprawled down by Taribo West. In this case, the referee did not hesitate to whistle the penalty, causing even more irritation in the Nerazzurri team, with Simoni unleashed and the players in turmoil. Del Piero then missed the penalty, throwing him on Pagliuca’s legs, but the game ended 1-0, effectively ending the discussion on the assignment of the Scudetto.
Juventus – Inter 0-1 aet
20 August 2005: the Birth of Mancini’s First Inter
Inter of Moratti and Simoni probably collected much less than they deserved, especially considering the economic effort that the management made in those years; the successes, however, would come a few years later, and the turning point was perhaps not so much Calciopoli, which certainly started an undisputed dominance of the Nerazzurri which lasted several years, but 2005, the year in which the Beneamata won the Italian Cup (the first trophy after that ’98 Uefa Cup) and won the Italian Super Cup, a prelude to third place that would become the championship after the disqualification of Juventus and Milan.
THE NEW NERAZZURRI
The creator of the rebirth, as well as Moratti, was the new coach, Roberto Mancini, now back on the Nerazzurri bench after a six-year break; arrived in the 2004/05 season after his experience at Lazio, Mancini had brought with him the players Favalli and Mihajlovic, as well as having obtained the purchase of Verón, Cambiasso, Davids, Ze Maria, and Burdisso, often at very low prices or zero parameters. In that year, however, the team failed to go beyond third place in the league mainly due to an endless series of draws.
Juventus, for its part, had just hired Fabio Capello after the farewell of Marcello Lippi, who moved to the national team with which he would be crowned World Champion and had bought Emerson, Zebina, and above all Cannavaro (right from Inter, where he did not have impressed) and Ibrahimovic, future star not only of the Italian championship. The team, a battleship in Italy – while in Europe it went out in the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the hands of Liverpool, the future winner of the competition – quite easily won the Scudetto in front of Milan, but then revoked due to Calciopoli.
In August 2005, the two teams then faced each other at the Delle Alpi in Turin to award the Italian Super Cup. Juve, with Buffon and Thuram unavailable, lined up Chimenti, Zebina, Kovac, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Camoranesi, Vieira, Emerson, Nedved, Ibrahimovic and Trezeguet, with Del Piero taking over from the bench; Inter instead responded with Toldo, Zanetti, Cordoba, Materazzi, Favalli, Ze Maria, Verón, Cambiasso, Stankovic, Adriano and Martins, with Samuel and Pizarro ready to enter the game in progress.
The game was very tight and played above all on errors (including referees). Already in the fourth minute, a goal to Adriano was canceled for offside, while at the forty-third it was Trezeguet who scored, but his goal was also canceled for an offside non-existent this time. In the second half, Juve then increased the pressure, touching the advantage first with Ibrahimovic and then with Vieira, whose shot hit the wood against Toldo beaten.
We then went to extra time and almost immediately it was the class of Juan Sebastián Verón – just bought by Chelsea after three seasons of (few) lights and (many) shadows in England – to decide the match, with a placed shot that left no way out. in Chimenti. Despite the jumble of changes, the result did not change and Inter conquered Delle Alpi, winning the trophy which, together with the Coppa Italia, would have opened the Nerazzurri’s golden period.