Enzo Bearzot, who coached Italy to victory at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, has died in his sleep aged 83.
Born in Joanni di Ajello del Friuli on 26 September 1927, 'Il Vecio' ('Old Man' in his native north-eastern dialect) was national coach from 1975 to 1986, his moment of triumph coming with a 3-1 win against West Germany in Madrid on 11 July 1982. Bearzot is fondly remembered for playing cards with the then Italian president Sandro Pertini on the plane back from Spain after winning the World Cup, and was later honoured with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
A defender, Bearzot played for AS Pro Gorizia, Calcio Catania, FC Internazionale Milano and Torino FC and was capped once by Italy in a 2-0 defeat in Hungary in 1955, After retiring in 1964, he became a goalkeeping coach and then assistant to first Nereo Rocco and then Edmondo Fabbri at Torino. His first head coaching role was at AC Prato before, in 1969, he began working for the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).
Initially the Under-23 coach and assistant to senior trainers Ferruccio Valcareggi and Fulvio Bernardini, Bearzot worked in tandem with the latter from 1975 before taking sole charge two years later. He led Italy to fourth place at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina before the 1982 triumph ended a 44-year wait for a third global title.
After going out in the last 16 in 1986, Bearzot left the post following a record 104 games at the helm – including 88 in sole charge – winning 51 and drawing 28. From 2002 until 2005, Bearzot was president of the FIGC technical department. His passing comes 42 years to the day after the death of Vittorio Pozzo, who coached Italy to their previous World Cup wins in 1934 and 1938.
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