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Italy EURO hero Pietro Anastasi passes away

Former Italy forward Pietro Anastasi, goalscorer in their 1968 EURO success, has passed away aged 71.

Pietro Anastasi preparing to play for Italy in 1972
Pietro Anastasi preparing to play for Italy in 1972 ©Popperfoto/Getty Images

Former Italy forward Pietro Anastasi, who scored in his country's historic 1968 UEFA European Championship final victory over Yugoslavia, has passed away at the age of 71.

Anastasi's goal was the second in a 2-0 replay win in Rome and provided the Azzurri with their only EURO triumph to date. The game followed an initial 1-1 draw in the Italian capital two days earlier.

In an international career spanning 25 matches and seven years, Anastasi scored eight goals for Italy. At club level, Anastasi lifted the Scudetto three times with Juventus before transferring to Inter, where he won the Coppa Italia.

"Pietro Anastasi left us," Juventus wrote on their official Twitter account. "An unforgettable champion, one of our symbols in the 70s."

Former Juve and Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio added: "He was an icon of a football which is not existing anymore. One of those players you fell in love with only by listening to the tales of your father."

Inter added to the chorus of tributes to their former front man. "Inter expresses its condolences for his death, the thoughts and affections of the club and all the Nerazzurri fans go to his whole family."

Anastasi passed away after a two year battle with cancer, first diagnosed in 2018.

The opening ceremony of the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament is due to take place at the Olimpico in Rome in June – half a century after providing the backdrop for Anastasi's greatest footballing triumph.