Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Enzo Bearzot, the manager of the World Cup-winning Italian team of 1982, died today at the age of 83 in Milan.

Under Bearzot's guidance, Italy triumphed at Espana 82 after a dreadful start. They drew all three of their first round group games before going on to defeat Argentina, Brazil, Poland and West Germany to win the World Cup for a third time.

The manager's decision to keep faith with striker Paulo Rossi - who seemed completely out-of-sorts in the first three games - was widely criticized at the time by the Italian press, yet proved to be the turning point of the World Cup. Rossi ended up with the Golden Boot following a hat-trick against Brazil, a brace against Poland, and the opening goal against the Germans in the Final.

Bearzot became the coach of the national side in 1977 and steered Italy to a fourth-placed finish at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

His reign ended after the 1986 World Cup in Mexico when the defending champions bowed out disappointingly in the second round against France.

Bearzot's death today strangely falls on the same day as the passing of Vittorio Pozzo (December 21 1968), the man who managed the Italian national team to their first two World Cup triumphs in 1934 and 1938.

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