Dino Zoff
(Italy)


      Dino Zoff is one of the best goalkeepers the world has ever seen. He has set lots of records in Italian and world football. For instance he is the oldest player to win the World Cup. In 1982 at the age of 40 he could collect the trophy as captain of Italy's team. And he is also the goalkeeper to have kept a clean sheet the longest time, from September 1972 to June 1974 (1142 minutes!) he was unbeaten. Haiti, of all nations, ended the run in the 1974 World Cup. 

     Zoff played most of his career in Napoli and Juventus and he played for Italy a record 112 times. In 1968 he was a member of Italy's European Championship winning team, but he was dropped for the Mexico World Cup two years later. Albertosi was preferred in goal in the tournament where Italy were runners-up. In 1974 Zoff was back in Italy's team, but despite his superb run of no goals conceded, Italy went out in the group stage. By the 1978 World Cup Zoff and Italy were among the favourites, they even beat the eventual winners and host nation Argentina in the group stage. But in a decisive final round match against Holland, Arie Haan's 40 yard shot sent Italy out. They played Brazil in the bronze match and lost there too. 

     But 1982 was to be Zoff's year, in his final World Cup he had success. After a slow start with only draws in the group stage, Italy then beat Argentina, Brazil, Poland and West Germany in consecutive matches and became worthy champions. As many other players, Zoff stayed in football after he finished playing and he has, among several jobs, been manager of Lazio in Rome and is now (Dec 99) national team coach for Italy.
 

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