Romania mourns World Cup coach Niculescu

Angelo Niculescu, the man whose style was a precursor to 'tiki-taka' and helped Romania reach the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, has died aged 93.

Pelé scores against Angelo Niculescu's Romania in 1970. Brazil won 3-2
Pelé scores against Angelo Niculescu's Romania in 1970. Brazil won 3-2 ©Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Angelo Niculescu, the man who led Romania to the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, has died aged 93.

Romania had not reached a major final tournament in almost three decades when Niculescu took the reins in 1967. Adopting a passing style considered a precursor to 'tiki-taka', he led the team to the World Cup three years later. There they defeated Czechoslovakia but narrow losses to holders England and eventual winners Brazil ended their hopes after the group stage.

Born on 1 October 1921, Niculescu had an unspectacular career before hanging up his boots in 1950, making 93 top-flight appearances. He was an outstanding coach, though. He led FC Dinamo București, the club where he ended playing, to championships in 1955 and 1965 and ended his Romania reign by leading the side to the 1972 UEFA European Championship quarter-finals. He was an honorary member of the Romanian Football Federation (FRF)

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