Italian football in mourning for Azeglio Vicini

Former Italy coach Azeglio Vicini, the man who led the Azzurri to the semi-finals of both EURO '88 and the 1990 FIFA World Cup, has passed away at the age of 84.

Azeglio Vicini on the Italy bench during the 1990 FIFA World Cup
Azeglio Vicini on the Italy bench during the 1990 FIFA World Cup ©Getty Images

Former Italy coach Azeglio Vicini has died in Brescia aged 84.

Vicini had a long association with the Italian Football Associatgion (FIGC) which culminated in his five-year stint as coach of the Azzurri team that reached the semi-finals of the 1988 UEFA European Championship and the FIFA World Cup in Italy two years later.

However, he started out in the game as a midfielder with Vicenza and Sampdoria in Serie A, ending his playing days in 1966 with Brescia, the club where he started his coaching career the following year.

In 1968 he began working for the FIGC and in 1976 he served as Italy's Under-23 coach. He was swiftly appointed to the Under-21 helm, though, and during a ten-year tenure he oversaw one of the Azzurri's best-loved U21 sides – his charges lost their 1986 UEFA European Championship final on penalties to Spain.

That same year Vicini was promoted to lead the senior squad, bringing with him several U21 starlets. Vicini's youthful Italy got as far as the semi-finals at EURO '88 in West Germany, going down 2-0 to the USSR. Then as hosts of Italia '90, the Azzurri were again vanquished semi-finalists, this time on penalties against Argentina, having conceded just one goal en route. The home nation eventually finished third.

Vicini was later succeeded by Arrigo Sacchi after Italy's failure to qualify for EURO '92. After subsequent brief spells with Cesena and Udinese, he rejoined the FIGC as president of the federal technical sector, a role he kept until 2010.

A father of three, Vicini is survived by his wife Ines.

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