International The Swamp

Italy’s best managers of all-time

With its most recent title under the guidance of coach Marcello Lippi in 2006, the Italian national team has won a total of four World Cups. Along with Brazil and Germany, Italy is one of the most prized sides in World Cup history. Let’s take a look back at the coaches who got the Azzurri to some of the final stages.

Enzo Bearzot (1975 – 1986)

The Italian football manager Enzo Bearzot coached the national side for more than a decade, bringing Italy its third World Cup title in 1982. After a string of unimpressive performances, Bearzot famously shut down the Italian press to censure any criticism. Coincidentally, the Azzurri played better, beating Argentina and Brazil before taking down Poland in the semifinals and finally Germany in the final. Bearzot also holds the record for most games coached for the national side with 88.

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Vittorio Pozzo (1929 – 1948)

The originator of the tactical formation that emphasized counter-attacking football, Vittorio Pozzo led the Azzurri to its first two World Cup victories in 1934 and 1938 and an Olympic gold medal in 1935. With 60 wins in 87 matches, Pozzo still holds the best winning percentage in Italian managerial history.

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Marcello Lippi (2004 – 2006) (2008 – 2010)

With a resume jammed packed with trophy after trophy coaching Juventus in the Serie A, Marcello Lippi also led the Italian squad that won the 2006 World Cup over Germany. After a brief retirement from the national side, he returned to the helm in 2008 to power up a national team that underperformed in the Euro 2008. But Lippi’s touch of magic only ran so far — Italy bowed out of the 2010 World Cup finishing at the bottom of the group.

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Ferruccio Valcareggi (1967 – 1974)

A former Bologna midfielder, the Italian Ferruccio Valcareggi headed the national side for eight years. During his 54 games in charge, he led the Azzurri to a European Championship in 1968 and a runner-up finish at the 1970 World Cup. While he also helped Italy qualify for World Cup 1974, the team failed to advance beyond the first round.

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Azeglio Vicini (1986 – 1991)

Making his way up through management as a successful U-21 manager for Italy, Azeglio Vicini took over the senior side where he coached for five years. In the 1990 World Cup, Vicini’s team finished in 3rd place.

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Arrigo Sacchi (1991 -1996)

A successful coach with Serie A side AC Milan, Arrigo Sacchi managed the national side for five years where he one more than half of his 53 matches. He also took the team to the 1994 World Cup finals where the Azzurri lost in penalty kicks to Brazil.

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