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New writer Allie Gamble, 19, reports from Rome on why this Sunday’s derby is no ordinary rivalry.


The Derby of Rome has always been one of the most intriguing events in the Italian football calendar. Despite a great deal of competition from the more glamorous Milanese derby della Madonnina or the historic Inter-Juve derby d’Italia, or even less well know matches like Genova’s derby della Lanterna between Sampdoria and Genoa, which is known for its stunning and intricate tifo displays, Roma vs Lazio has always received a great deal of attention, and this Sunday will prove no exception.

One of the reasons why the Roman derby is so important is purely geographical. The ‘big three’ of Italian football – Inter, Juve and Milan – are concentrated up in the Alpine North of the Peninsula, so logic dictates that the South provide some sort of counterbalance. Rome is the largest city in Italy, and of course its capital, so it makes sense for it to be the focus of any such effort. With a large, football-loving population – over a million people crammed into the Circus Maximus to celebrate Roma’s league win in 2001, (could you imagine that happening in Hyde Park after Chelsea won the Premier League?) – any Roman Derby is guaranteed to garner interest. The fact that both teams are well supported in the city and the region, and that both declare themselves to be the only true team of Rome, adds to the interest this match provokes in Central and Southern Italy.

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