Italy World Cup winning coach Bearzot dies

ROME, (Reuters) – Enzo Bearzot, the coach who led  Italy to victory in the final of the 1982 World Cup against the  odds, has died at the age of 83.  

Enzo Bearzot

“Goodbye ‘old man’, we will miss your wisdom,” Serie A said  in a statement without giving a cause of death.
Tributes quickly poured in for one of Italian sport’s most  respected figures, who worked his way up the Italian federation  pyramid to become coach of the national team despite never  having been a manager in the top-flight Serie A. 
Paolo Rossi, whose six goals helped Italy to triumph in 1982  despite three draws in the first group stage, was tearful. 
“Enzo Bearzot has been one of the greatest Italians of the  20th century, of this there is no doubt,” Rossi, who returned  from a betting ban just in time for the tournament, told news  agency ANSA.  “For me he was like a father. I owe him everything, without  him I would not have done what I did. He was an incredibly  honest person.”  
Given Rossi’s troubled build-up to the finals and the three  opening draws, Italy’s third of four World Cup triumphs looked  highly unlikely in Spain but they burst into life in the second  group phase. 
A 2-1 win over Argentina and 3-2 success against Brazil,  where Rossi scored a hat-trick, set the tone for the semi-final  victory over Poland and the memorable 3-1 triumph over West  Germany in the final.
Marco Tardelli’s crazed celebration after scoring the second  goal in the final has gone down in World Cup folklore but the  photographs of Bearzot cradling the trophy also resonate with  all Italians. 

“Bearzot knew how to represent and transmit the great values  of mankind and of sport,” the Italian soccer federation  president Giancarlo Abete said in a statement. 
Born in Aiello in north-eastern Italy in 1927, Bearzot  played centre back for clubs such as Inter Milan and Torino and  picked up one Italy cap.  

He later became coach of third-tier Prato but his club  management career ended there and he entered the Italian  federation system as an Italy under-23 coach before working his  way up to national boss.
Bearzot led the Azzurri to fourth spot in the 1978 World Cup  and Euro 1980, hosted by Italy, before his finest moment two  years later.
A last-16 defeat by France at the 1986 World Cup prompted  Bearzot’s resignation and he never coached again, returning to  the federation in the last decade as a technical director.

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