All Italy is looking forward to what the country calls the ‘Derby of Italy’ when Inter face Juventus at the Delle Alpi Stadium in Turin on Sunday.
The two rivals go into the game level on points at the top of Serie A and, although there will still be a third of the season to go after this encounter, many people are already discussing the match as a potential title decider.
Juventus go into the game on the back of a humbling 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday, but Juve’s French international defender Lilian Thuram believes that reverse may prove to be a blessing.
‘One of the nice things about football is that after a defeat there can be an important game to re-focus you. The other night there was a lot of anger but now we are calmly preparing for Inter,’ said Thuram.
The flu bug which decimated Juve’s squad in the last ten days has cleared, and with the exception of long-terminjury victim Alessandro Del Piero, coach Marcello Lippi will have a full squad to choose from.
Thuram singled out Christian Vieri as Inter’s main threat. Although firing blanks in the Champions League, Vieri has beenn prollific in Serie A, leading the scoring charts with 19 league goals to date.
‘We all know how dangerous Vieri is up front – he is a great finisher and he really is scoring a lot this season,’ noted Thuram.
‘But without a team behind you no-one is capable of scoring so prolifically.
‘What would worry me would be if we thought Inter was only Vieri. There is also Gabriel Batistuta and many others who can do you harm.’
Batistuta is expected to partner the prolific Vieri with Uruguayan Alvaro Recoba playing on the left to complete an enterprising looking Inter forward line.
Midfielder Emre Belozoglu is hoping to be fit after spending two weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
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