Dino Zoff (born 28 February 1942) is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He is the oldest ever winner of the World Cup, which he earned as captain of the Italian national team in the 1982 tournament, at the age of 40 years, 4 months and 13 days. He also won the award for best goalkeeper of the tournament and was elected to the team of the tournament for his performances, keeping two clean-sheets, an honour he also received after winning the 1968 European Championship on home soil. Zoff is the only Italian player to have won both the World Cup and the European Championship. He also achieved great club success with Juventus, winning six Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia titles, and a UEFA Cup, also reaching two European Champions’ Cup finals in the 1972–73 and 1982–83 seasons, as well as finishing second in the 1973 Intercontinental Cup final. Zoff was a goalkeeper of outstanding ability, and he has a place in the history of the sport among the very best in this role, being named the third greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS behind Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks. He holds the record for the longest playing time without allowing goals in international tournaments (1,142 minutes) set between 1972 and 1974. With 112 caps, he is the sixth most capped player for the Italy national team. In 2004, Pelé named Zoff as one of the 100 greatest living footballers. In the same year, Zoff placed fifth in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, and was elected as Italy’s golden player of the past 50 years. He also placed second in the 1973 Ballon d’Or, as he narrowly missed out on a treble with Juventus. In 1999, Zoff placed 47th in World Soccer Magazine’s 100 Greatest Players of the Twentieth Century. After retiring as a footballer, Zoff went on to pursue a managerial career, coaching the Italian national team, with which he reached the Euro 2000 Final, losing to Team France, and several Italian club teams, including his former club Juventus, with which he won an UEFA Cup and a Coppa Italia double during the 1989–90 season, trophies he had also won as a player. In September 2014, Zoff published his Italian autobiography Dura solo un attimo, la gloria (“Glory only Lasts a Moment”).
Udinese, Mantova and Napoli
Zoff’s career got off to an inauspicious start, when at the age of fourteen he had trials with Inter Milan and Juventus, but was rejected due to a lack of height. Five years later, having grown by 33 centimetres (supposedly due to his grandmother Adelaide’s recommended increased daily intake of eight eggs), he made his Serie A debut with Udinese on 24 September 1961, in a 5–2 defeat to Fiorentina, although Zoff was not criticised for any of the goals he conceded. Zoff made only four appearances in his first season for Udinese, as they were relegated to Serie B. He played the next season as the club’s starting goalkeeper, helping the club to Serie A promotion, before moving to Mantova in 1963, where he spent four seasons, making 131 appearances. His performances for Mantova in the top flight caught the attention of larger clubs, while Italy’s national coach at the time, Edmondo Fabbri, even considered bringing him as a back-up for the 1966 FIFA World Cup, although he ultimately chose to bring Enrico Albertosi, Roberto Anzolin, and Pierluigi Pizzaballa instead. In 1967, Zoff was transferred to Napoli, in exchange for fellow goalkeeper Claudio Bandoni, and a transfer fee of 130 million Lire; he spent five seasons in Naples, making 143 Serie A appearances with the club. During this time, he began to achieve increasing recognition in Italy, also making his International debut with the Italian national side in 1968, and earning a place in Italy’s squads at Euro 68 and the 1970 World Cup.
Following his achievements with the national side, and due to his performances during his time with Napoli, Zoff was signed by Juventus in 1972, at the age of 30, where he resumed his success. In eleven years with Juventus, Zoff won the Serie A championship six times, the Coppa Italia twice and the UEFA Cup once, also reaching two European Cup finals, another semi-final in 1978 (during which Zoff played a decisive role in the club’s shoot-out victory over Ajax in the quarter-finals by saving two penalties), and the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup during the 1979–80 season. In 1973, he placed second in the Ballon d’Or, following his Serie A title victory, also narrowly missing out on an historical treble with Juventus, after reaching both the European Cup and the Coppa Italia finals that season, in which his club were defeated, however; Juventus also finished as runners-up in the 1973 Intercontinental Cup that year. In winning the 1977 UEFA Cup Final against Athletic Bilbao, Zoff came out on top against his ‘twin’, the Basque goalkeeper José Ángel Iribar. Overall, Zoff made 479 appearances for Juventus in all competitions, making 330 Serie A appearances with the club (all of which came consecutively, a club record), 74 in the Coppa Italia, 71 in European Competitions, and 4 in other Club Competitions. He is currently Juventus’s 6th record appearance holder in all competitions, their 7th all-time appearance holder in Serie A, their 3rd all-time appearance holder in the Coppa Italia, their 7th all-time appearance holder in UEFA Club competitions, and their 9th all-time appearance holder in international club competitions. Zoff won his final Serie A championship with Juventus during the 1981–82 Serie A season, also winning the 1982 FIFA World Cup with Italy that year, as his team’s captain. During the following 1982–83 season, the final season of his career, Dino Zoff won the Coppa Italia with defending Serie A champions Juventus, and he reached his second European Cup final with the club in 1983; Juventus were defeated 1–0 by Hamburg in Athens on 25 May, after Zoff was beaten by Felix Magath’s long-distance strike; this was the final match of his career. His final league appearance came in a 4–2 home win over Genoa on 15 May 1983.
Upon retirement, Zoff held the records for the oldest Serie A player, at the age of 41, and the most Serie A appearances (570 matches) for more than 20 years, until the 2005–06 season, when the records were broken by Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta, and A.C. Milan defender Paolo Maldini respectively. Behind only former A.C. Milan goalkeeper Sebastiano Rossi, who overtook him during the 1993–94 season, Zoff has conceded the fewest goals in a single Serie A season; behind only Gianluigi Buffon and Sebastiano Rossi, he has also gone the most time unbeaten in Serie A without conceding a goal, producing a 903-minute unbeaten streak during the 1972–73 season, a record that stood until Rossi overtook him in the 1993–94 season; Buffon broke the record during the 2015–16 season. He also held the Serie A record for most consecutive clean sheets alongside Rossi (9), until Gianluigi Buffon overtook them both with his 10th consecutive clean sheet in 2016. With 570 Serie A appearances, Zoff is also the sixth highest appearance holder in Serie A of all time, and he is the fourth oldest player in Serie A to have ever played a match. He holds the record for most consecutive matches played in Serie A (332), a streak which went unbroken from 21 May 1972 (in a 0–0 home draw with Napoli against Bologna), until his final league appearance with Juventus in 1983. At 41 years and 86 days, Zoff is also the oldest player to have appeared in a European Cup or UEFA Champions League Final.
Prior to representing the senior Italian side, Zoff had won a gold medal with the Italy under-23 side at the 1963 Mediterranean Games. On 20 April 1968, Zoff made his senior debut for Italy, playing in a 2–0 win against Bulgaria in the quarter finals of the 1968 European Championships, in Naples. Zoff ended up being promoted to starting goalkeeper over his perceived career rival Enrico Albertosi during the tournament, and Italy proceeded to win the European Championship on home soil, with Zoff taking home a winners’ medal after only his fourth international appearance, keeping two clean sheets, and winning the award for the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Zoff was left out of the Italian starting eleven in the 1970 World Cup, however, and was Albertosi’s deputy throughout the tournament, as Italy went on to reach the final of the World Cup, and was defeated 4–1 by Brazil. He returned to the starting line-up, however, ahead of Albertosi, in Italy’s disappointing 1974 World Cup campaign, during which they would be eliminated in the first round. From 1972 onwards, Zoff became Italy’s undisputed number 1, and he participated in the 1978 World Cup with Italy, during which he managed a fourth-place finish, keeping 3 clean-sheets. Italy were eliminated in the semi-final, in a 2–1 loss to the Netherlands. After the match, Zoff was criticised for making a fairly uncommon error, as he was beaten by a strike from distance by Arie Haan. Zoff was also Italy’s starting goalkeeper once again at the 1980 European Championships on home soil, however, helping his side to reach the semi-finals, finishing the tournament in fourth place once again. During the 1980 European Championship, Zoff kept three clean sheets, only conceding one goal in the bronze medal match, which Italy would lose on penalties; Zoff was elected as the goalkeeper of the tournament once again, an honour he had previously managed after winning the tournament in 1968. Throughout these two tournaments, Zoff established a record for most consecutive minutes unbeaten in a European Championship, which was later beaten by Iker Casillas in 2012. Zoff had also established the record for most minutes unbeaten European Championship qualifying, which was also beaten, by compatriot Buffon in 2011. He still holds the record, however, for most consecutive minutes without conceding a goal at the European Championships including qualifying, having kept eight consecutive cleans sheets between 1975 and 1980, while going unbeaten for 784 minutes. Alongside Casillas, Buffon, and Thomas Myhre, he is the goalkeeper with the fewest goals conceded in a single edition of the European Championships, having conceded only one goal in the 1968 European Championships; of these players, only Zoff and Casillas won the title while achieving this feat. Zoff’s greatest accomplishment, however, came in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, where he captained Italy to victory in the tournament at the age of 40, making him the oldest ever winner of the World Cup; throughout the tournament, he kept two clean sheets, and produced a crucial goal-line save in the final minutes of the last second-round group match against favourites Brazil on 5 July, which enabled the Italians to earn a 3–2 victory and advance to the semi-finals of the competition. On 11 July, at the age of 40 years and 133 days, he became the oldest player ever to feature in a World Cup final; following Italy’s 3–1 victory over West Germany at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, he followed in the footsteps of compatriot Gianpiero Combi (1934) as only the second goalkeeper to captain a World Cup-winning side (later Iker Casillas and Hugo Lloris repeated this feat for Spain and France in the 2010 and 2018 World Cups respectively). Due to his performances, he was voted as the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Regarding Zoff’s importance during Italy’s victorious World Cup campaign, his manager Enzo Bearzot said of him:
Zoff was a traditional, effective, and experienced goalkeeper, who usually favoured efficiency and caution over flamboyance and making saves, although he was also capable of producing spectacular dives and decisive saves when necessary due to his strength and athleticism. He was particularly regarded for his outstanding positioning and handling of the ball, in particular when coming out to collect crosses, as well as his concentration, consistency, calm mindset, and composure under pressure; he was also an elegant player, who possessed good reactions and excellent shot-stopping abilities. Zoff was also noted for his attention to detail during matches, as well as his ability to read the game, anticipate his opponents, communicate with his defenders, and organise his back-line, which also enabled him to start attacking plays quickly from the back after claiming the ball. Despite his serious and reserved character, Zoff also drew praise for his leadership skills, correct behaviour, and competitive spirit, which led him to serve as captain of his national side, and enabled him to inspire a sense of calmness and confidence in his teammates. On occasion, however, Zoff was accused by certain pundits of occasionally struggling when facing long-range shots, and for not always being particularly adept at stopping penalties. Known for his work-rate in training, dedication, and discipline as a footballer, in addition to his goalkeeping skills, Zoff also stood out for his stamina, longevity, and determination, which enabled him to avoid injuries and have an extensive and highly successful career; due to his constant desire to improve himself, he was able to maintain a consistent level of performance throughout his entire career, even with his advancing age towards the end of his career, into his late 30s and early 40s. Considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, in 1999 he was elected in a poll by the IFFHS as the third best goalkeeper of the 20th Century – after Lev Yashin (1st) and Gordon Banks (2nd) – as well as Italy’s best keeper of the century, and the second best European keeper of the century – behind only Yashin.
After his retirement as a player, Zoff went into coaching, joining the technical staff at Juventus, initially as a goalkeeping coach, although this experience proved to be unsatisfactory for him. He subsequently coached the Italian Olympic side, his first experience as a coach, helping the team to qualify for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, before returning to Juventus in a coaching role; the Italian Olympic side eventually managed a fourth-place finish in the final tournament. Zoff served as Juventus’s head coach from 1988 to 1990. In 1990, he was sacked, however, despite winning the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia during the 1989–90 season, while also helping the club to a third-place finish in the league. He then joined Lazio, where he became the coach in 1994, and later the club’s sporting director, winning the Coppa Italia in 1998, and helping the club to an UEFA Cup final the same season, and was defeated by compatriots Inter. In 1998, Zoff was appointed as the head coach of the Italian national team. Although Italy were still cautious and organised defensively, Zoff used a more open, fluid, and attacking style of play than that used by his more defensive Italian coaching predecessors Cesare Maldini and Arrigo Sacchi. Zoff helped the team to qualify for Euro 2000, and he introduced several younger players to the team, such as Francesco Totti, Gianluca Zambrotta, Stefano Fiore, Massimo Ambrosini, Christian Abbiati, Marco Delvecchio, and Vincenzo Montella. Although Italy were not top favourites because of a young squad, he coached a young Italy squad to a second-place finish in Euro 2000, suffering a 2–1 extra-time defeat at the hands of reigning World Cup Champions France in the final, due to a golden goal by David Trezeguet. En route to the final, a ten-man Italy had eliminated co-hosts the Netherlands in the semi-finals in a penalty shoot-out, after a 0–0 draw, following extra-time, with a tightly contested defensive display against a more offensive-minded Dutch side. In the final of the tournament, Italy had been 1–0 up for most of the second half, and were less than sixty seconds away from winning the tournament, before France forward Sylvain Wiltord scored in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time to equalise, and send the match into extra time. Despite reaching the final, Zoff resigned a few days later, following strong criticism from A.C. Milan president and politician Silvio Berlusconi. Zoff was voted the World Soccer Manager of the Year in 2000. Zoff returned to defending Serie A, Coppa Italia, and Supercoppa Italiana champions Lazio as a manager for the next season, replacing Sven-Göran Eriksson in 2001, and finishing third in Serie A. The following season, he resigned on 20 September, after only the third match, due to a poor start to the 2001–02 season. In 2005, he was named the coach of Fiorentina as a replacement for Sergio Buso. Despite saving the team from relegation on the last day of the season, Zoff was let go.
Antonio Cabrini (born 8 October 1957) is an Italian professional football manager and a former player. He has played left-back, mainly with Juventus. He won the 1982 FIFA World Cup with the Italian national team. Cabrini was nicknamed Bell’Antonio (“beautiful Antonio”), because of his popularity as a charismatic and good-looking football player. On the field, he made a name for himself as one of Italy’s greatest defenders ever, and is remembered in particular for forming one of the most formidable defensive units of all time with Italy and Juventus, alongside goalkeeper Dino Zoff, as well as defenders Claudio Gentile, and Gaetano Scirea. Cabrini won the Best Young Player Award at the 1978 World Cup, after helping Italy managed a fourth-place finish, and also represented Italy at Euro 1980, once again finishing in fourth place. He is one of the few players to have won all UEFA Club competitions, an achievement he managed with Juventus.
Cabrini was born in Cremona, Lombardy. He made his professional football debut with the local team U.S. Cremonese in the Serie C during the 1973–74 season, making 3 appearances and gaining a starting place the following 1974–75 season. In the 1975–76 season he played in the Serie B for Atalanta, and in the summer of 1976 he was acquired by Juventus, the team for which he was to spend most of his career. With Juventus, he won the Italian Serie A 6 times, the Coppa Italia 2 times (Italian Cup), 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Cup and 1 Intercontinental European/South American Cup. In his final season with Juventus, he also captained the side, after inheriting the armband from Scirea. In 1989, after 13 successful seasons with the Turin club, he moved to Bologna for two more years before retiring as a player. He played a total of 352 Serie A matches (297 of them with Juventus), scoring 35 goals (33 of them with Juventus).
Cabrini was called up to Italy’s being part of the list of 20 players to participate in the 1978 FIFA World Cup despite being uncapped (he however, had 23 caps for junior teams). He earned his first cap on 2 June 1978, in Italy’s opening game against France, which ended in a 2–1 win to the “Azzurri”; Italy went on to finish the tournament in fourth place, and Cabrini was named the Best Young Player of the Tournament. He soon became an international regular for the next 9 years; he participated as a starter in all of Italy’s games in 3 consecutive World Cups: in 1978, 1982 and 1986. Overall, Cabrini played 18 games during World Cup final stages, winning the 1982 edition despite missing a penalty in the final against West Germany. He also represented Italy at Euro 1980 as a starter on home soil, finishing the tournament in fourth place, after reaching the semi-finals. Cabrini was part of the 1982 World Cup-winning team that included goalkeeper Dino Zoff, Gaetano Scirea, Giuseppe Bergomi, Claudio Gentile in defense, Marco Tardelli and Bruno Conti in midfield, and Cabrini’s Juventus teammate Paolo Rossi in attack. Cabrini gave a strong performance throughout the tournament, helping to lead his country to win the title, keeping two clean sheets throughout the tournament, but also scoring the crucial match-winning goal in Italy’s 2–1 second round win over defending champions Argentina. In total, he earned 73 caps for his country and scored 9 goals (an Italy international record for a defender), ending his career with the Azzurri in October 1987, earning his final appearance on 17 October 1987, in a 0–0 draw against Switzerland. He also captained the national side 10 times.
Conti spent his entire career, aside from two year-long loan spells at Genoa in Serie B during the 1975–76 (during which he won the Serie B title) and the 1978–79 seasons, at Roma. He had initially been a member of the club’s youth squad between 1972 and 1974, eventually making his senior club and Serie A debut on 10 February 1974, in a 0–0 home draw against Torino, during the 1973–74 Season, under Nils Liedholm, at the age of 19. As a youngster, he had been overlooked by scouts during trials with several professional clubs, including Roma manager Helenio Herrera, who felt that his physique would not allow him to succeed at the top level, despite his talent. During his time with the Roma, Conti famously wore the number 7 shirt, and he became an important figure with the club on the right wing, as he won the Scudetto during the 1982–83 season and the Coppa Italia five times between 1979 and 1991. He played a key role in helping Roma to reach the 1984 European Cup Final, where they were defeated on penalties by Liverpool, with Conti missing his penalty in the shootout. He also helped Roma to reach the 1991 UEFA Cup Final, during his final season with the club, also winning his final Coppa Italia that season. Due to his performances for Roma throughout his club career, Conti was given the nickname: “The Mayor of Rome”. He was one of the eleven members to be inducted into the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame in 2012.
After beginning his career with Arona, Gentile played in Serie B with Varese during the 1972–73 season. He then moved to Juventus and first played for them in a Coppa Italia match against Ascoli Calcio on 29 August 1973, with his Serie A debut following on 2 December 1973 against Verona. In all he played 414 senior matches for Juventus, including 283 in Serie A. In over a decade with Juventus, Gentile won two major European club competitions (1976–77 UEFA Cup and 1983–84 European Cup Winners’ Cup), six Serie A championships, and two Coppa Italias. He also reached the final of the 1982–83 European Cup with the Turin club, only to suffer a 1–0 defeat against Hamburg in Athens. In 1984, he moved to rivals Fiorentina where he spent three further seasons in Serie A, making over 60 appearances for the club. He then played a final season with Piacenza, in Serie B, retiring at the end of the 1987–88 season.
Gentile was capped on 71 occasions by Italy between 1975 and 1984, scoring a single goal during his international career. He played in all of Italy’s matches at the 1978 World Cup, where Italy finished in fourth place, after reaching second place in the final group stage of the tournament and then losing the 3rd place playoff to Brazil. Gentile also played in the 1980 European Championship, and he was named in the team of the tournament. In the 1982 World Cup, Gentile was once again a permanent member of the starting line-up as Italy went on to win the World Cup that year. He gained notoriety for his aggressive man-marking of Diego Maradona in a 2–1 second-round victory against Argentina at the 1982 World Cup, where he fouled the Argentine star 11 times in the first half, and 23 in total, after which Gentile famously quipped,”Football is not for ballerinas!” Italy ending up defeating the defending champions Argentina 2–1. Italy then faced tournament favorites Brazil in the next second-round group match and won 3–2. Paolo Rossi had a hat trick. Italy defeated Poland 2–0 in the semi-final, and Gentile returned for the final against West Germany where Italy won 3–1. Gentile was once again in the team of the tournament for his performances during the 1982 World Cup.
Fulvio Collovati (born 9 May 1957) is an Italian former footballer, who played as a defender. He was a stopper (a man–marking centre-back in Italian football jargon) and also played for Italy at international level, winning the 1982 FIFA World Cup. As a player, he was regarded as one of Italy’s best defenders during the 1970s and 1980s. An elegant, physically strong, and dynamic player, he was gifted with good technique and distribution, as well as excellent anticipation, movement, marking ability, heading, and aerial prowess; because of his many defensive attributes, he was considered Roberto Rosato’s heir at Milan.
Collovati was born in Teor, in the province of Udine. Brought up through the A.C. Milan youth academy, he debuted in Serie A with the rossoneri in the 1976–77 season, in which he played eleven times and even won the Coppa Italia. In the next season he played more regularly (25 appearances, 1 goal) but his definitive moment came during the 1978–79 season in which, thanks to his 27 appearances, he won the scudetto. Following the 1979–80 season, Milan was relegated to the Serie B for their involvement in the Totonero football betting scandal. Unlike other players, Collovati stayed on with Milan in Serie B and played 36 games scoring two goals, winning the league title that season, and helping the club to regain promotion to Serie A the following season. Back in Serie A the next season, Milan won the Mitropa Cup with Collovati serving as the team’s captain: however Milan was relegated to Serie B once again, but this time for their on-field exploits. On this occasion, Collovati (who in the meantime was called up to the Nazionale) decided to join local rivals Inter Milan. In his first year with the nerazzurri (1982–83), he played in 28 games. At Inter he was always a mainstay in the defense, but in September 1986 he wanted to be closer to his hometown of Udine and he went to play for Udinese Calcio, where he only stayed for one season (20 games, 2 goals). He ended his career after two years at A.S. Roma (1987–88 and 1988–89) and four at Genoa C.F.C. (from 1989–90 to 1992–93), all in Serie A.
In his international career, Collovati played 50 games and scored 3 goals: he made his senior debut for Italy on 24 February 1979 against the Netherlands (3–0) and he scored his first international goal on 16 February 1980 during Italy–Romania (2–1). Collovati was a member of the Italy squad that finished in fourth place at the 1980 European Championships on home soil, missing the decisive penalty in the shoot-out of the bronze-medal match against Czechoslovakia. Collovati represented his country in 8 FIFA World Cup qualification matches and was a protagonist at the 1982 World Cup in Spain where Italy won the World Cup for a third time, and Collovati was named as a member of the team of the tournament. He also made an appearance for Italy at the 1986 World Cup.
Giuseppe “Beppe” Bergomi (born 22 December 1963) is an Italian former professional footballer who spent his entire career at Internazionale. A one-club man, Bergomi held the record of most appearances for the club for several years, while also being the side’s longtime captain. He was affectionately referred to as “Lo zio” (“the uncle”) because of his bushy eyebrows and the impressive moustache he wore even as a youngster. He is regarded as one of the greatest Italian defenders of all time, and as one of the best of his generation, being elected by Pelé to be part of the FIFA 100 in 2004. Bergomi currently works as a pundit at Sky Sports Italia and frequently co-commentates on Serie A matches alongside Fabio Caressa.
Born in Milan, Bergomi began training with F.C. Internazionale Milano’s first team at the age of only 16, and made his professional debut in the 1980–81 season. After winning the Coppa Italia the following year, go on to spend his entire career with Inter, later becoming team captain. The 20 Serie A campaigns in which he competed were often in the shadow of A.C. Milan, as he only won the Scudetto once, during a record-breaking campaign in 1988–89 (he did, however, conquer the UEFA Cup on three occasions, also reaching the final for a fourth time in 1997). For a moment, he held the records for both the most appearances in European competition by an Italian player and the most Milan derbies played, both later broken by Paolo Maldini. Bergomi retired in 1999 at the age of almost 36, holding the record of most appearances for Inter until late September 2011 when he was overtaken by Javier Zanetti. With 96 appearances, he currently holds the record for most appearances in the UEFA Cup, and in March 2004 he was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers.
With Italy Bergomi won the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and also played in the 1986 and 1990 campaigns (acting as captain in the latter), as well as UEFA Euro 1988, where the nation reached the semi-finals and he was elected part of the team of the tournament. Alongside the likes of Inter’s Giuseppe Baresi, his younger brother Franco of A.C. Milan and Juventus F.C. trio of Antonio Cabrini, Claudio Gentile and Gaetano Scirea, he formed the backbone of the national team’s defence for much of the 1980s, making his debut on 14 April 1982 in a 0–1 friendly loss in East Germany, aged only 18 years and 3 months, making him the youngest player to feature in a match for Italy post-World War II; in the victorious World Cup run in Spain he appeared in three games, including the full 180 minutes in the last two matches, keeping a clean sheet in the semi-final after coming on for injured Collovati. In the final, he also participated in Marco Tardelli’s iconic goal, along with Scirea. In the 1986 edition Italy were eliminated in the round-of-16, and Bergomi captained his country in the 1990 tournament – held on home soil – to a third-place finish, playing in all seven matches which included five consecutive wins and as many clean sheets, for a total of 518 minutes without conceding a goal and the best defensive record overall. After being sent off in a match against Norway for the Euro 1992 qualifiers, Bergomi spent years without being called up to the Azzurri, but was surprisingly selected for the 1998 World Cup at age 34, after playing 28 times in the league and leading the Nerazzurri to the UEFA Cup – his third and last. In France he started off as a reserve, but was substituted in during the last group stage match against Austria when Alessandro Nesta suffered a tournament-ending injury. He partnered for the rest of the tournament with Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Costacurta and Maldini, playing three games and leading Italy to a quarter-final finish, where they would be eliminated by hosts and eventual champions France, on penalties; this would be his 81st and final international appearance, to which he added six goals. Despite playing in four World Cups, Bergomi failed to make one single appearance in the qualifying stages.