Former Austria player and coach Karl Stotz dies

Karl Stotz, a member of the Austria squad that finished third at the 1954 FIFA World Cup, who later guided the national team to the 1982 finals, has died aged 90.

Austria's 1954 side for the third-place play-off
Austria's 1954 side for the third-place play-off ©Getty Images

Austria has lost one of its football heroes. Former national-team player and manager Karl Stotz died peacefully in his sleep on Monday, only eight days after his 90th birthday.

As a teenager, Stotz had been a soldier in World War II and fought in the Battle of Stalingrad. Captured, he was a prisoner of war for three years before returning to his home town of Vienna.

He began playing football at FC Wien. With his superb positional play he quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in the league. In 1951 he joined Austria Wien and had 12 successful years with the Violets, claiming four league titles and two domestic cups. In 2001 he was named in the club's team of the century.

Stotz made his Austria debut against Switzerland in March 1950, the first of 42 caps that included his participation at the 1954 and 1958 FIFA World Cups. He was on the bench in 1954 as Austria beat Uruguay 3-1 in the third-place play-off – a feat that remains the biggest success in Austrian football history.

After hanging up his boots in 1963, he moved into coaching, first with Austria Wien and then, between 1978 and 1981, with the national side. He secured qualification for the 1982 World Cup but was sacked just before the finals. "I was so disappointed," he later reflected, "that I swore never to work in football again."