By winning Euro 2020 with Italy, Roberto Mancini entered the closed club of coaches who won with the Squadra Azzurra. The legend of Sampdoria thus joins Vittorio Pozzo, Ferruccio Valcareggi, Enzo Bearzot and Marcello Lippi. A look back at his coaches who reached the heights with the Nazionale.
Vittorio Pozzo, the precursor and the most successful
The first great Italian coach titled with the Nazionale is the legendary Vittorio Pozzo. A follower of organized football, the Italian technician is considered in the country as the forerunner of modern football, at least the first who won the selection. It is not at all wrong to say that the Pozzo era corresponds to the first golden age of Calcio.
To climb the heights of international football, Pozzo can also count on a golden generation. Players like Giuseppe Meazza, Raimundo Orsi, or Silvio Piola fill the squad of Azzurri during those victorious 1930s.
Thus Vittorio Pozzo’s Italy won three major competitions in a row during the 1930s. First of all, the 1934 World Cup in Italy, the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and the 1938 World Cup in France. Even today, Vittorio Pozzo is not only the most successful Italian coach in history but also the only one in the world to have won two World Cups.
Bearzot and Lippi, two symbolic worlds
Between the two world coronations of 1982 and 2006 we can make some symbolic connections. First of all, the particular context which disrupts the Nazionale. During these two World Cups Italian football knows two scandals: the Totonero in the early 1980s and Calciopoli in 2006.
And yet each time Italy will succeed in overcoming this context and winning the supreme title of international football. In 1982, Enzo Bearzot’s men made a very complicated first round with three draws and ended up qualifying in 1/2 by beating Argentina and Brazil, one of the favorites. The rest of the competition will be a formality for the Azzurri who beat Poland and Germany before lifting their world third. In 2006 we find a little the same situation with a sluggish group stage as well as a complicated round of 16 against Australia. It will be necessary to wait for the match against Ukraine in the quarter-finals to launch Italy towards its fourth world title.
Each time in 1982 and 2006, the Nazionale knew how to find his « anti-hero ». In 82, it was striker Paolo Rossi who brought Dante’s country to the top of world football. While in 2006 he was the unloved defender of the Calcio, Marco Materazzi who performs a great competition. Each time also the two coaches, Bearzot and Lippi, will succeed in leaving the Squadra Azzurra trouble to get it to the top.
Valcareggi and Mancini, a Euro as a rebirth
The parallel can also be drawn between the two Italian coaches who won the Euro with Italy. In 1967, Ferruccio Valcareggi took over a sick Italy after the 1966 World Cup disaster in England. The Calcio is in a bad state whether it is on the side of the national team or the clubs in European Cups.
Ferruccio Valcareggi still manages to qualify the Nazionale for the final phase of Euro 1968 which is organized in Italy. As a result, Italy won the competition in a rather crazy scenario with a qualification in the final against the USSR by coin toss and a final victory against Yugoslavia in two matches. Two years later, the coach will take Italy to the 1970 World Cup final, in Mexico, against Pelé’s Brazil.
It was the same for Roberto Mancini who took over the Azzurri in 2018 after not qualifying for the Russian World Cup. In three years, the former Manchester City coach has managed to create a large group capable of winning Euro 2020 three years after the disillusionment of 2017 in the play-offs against Sweden. Hopefully the Mancio manage to do the same, if not better, than Valcareggi at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.