Former Italy football coach Azeglio Vicini dies

Former Italy football coach Azeglio Vicini dies
Azeglio Vicini on the sidelines during Italy's 1990 World Cup match against the US. Photo: Bob Pearson/AFP
Former Italy national coach Azeglio Vicini, who led the Azzurri to third place at the 1990 World Cup on home soil, has died at the age of 84.

Vicini managed the national side from 1986 to 1991, leading them to the semi-finals of the 1988 European Championships and also the 1990 World Cup.

Fondly remembered as “the coach of the magical nights” for his role in Italia '90, Vicini passed away at his home in the northern city of Brescia, Italian press reported Wednesday.

The Italian football federation said that a minute's silence would be held in his memory at games starting with Wednesday evening's Italian Cup match between AC Milan and Lazio at San Siro.

Azeglio Vicini (R) talking to another of Italy's coaches, Roberto Donadoni, in 2007. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

During his 13-year senior playing career Vicini lined up for Vicenza, Sampdoria and Brescia.

He coached Italy's Under-23 team from 1975 and then their Under-21s before taking over the senior squad from World Cup-winning coach Enzo Bearzot in 1986, but he will mainly be remembered for being at the helm of Italy when the country hosted the World Cup.

He guided them to the last four where their campaign was halted by Diego Maradona's Argentina in a penalty shoot-out.

He was succeeded by Arrigo Sacchi in 1991, and later coached his hometown team Cesena and Udinese before retiring in 1994.