If we have to think about the first great coach of Italian football, we cannot fail to mention Vittorio Pozzo. The coach-journalist who in the 1930s gave life to the 10 most successful years in the history of the Italian national team: two World Cups, one Olympics and two International Cups.
The beginnings of Vittorio Pozzo
Vittorio Pozzo was born in Turin on 02/03/1886, as a footballer he did not have a dazzling career, he played up to Serie C. Instead, as a coach he managed to express his characteristics as a great connoisseur of football also due to his activity as a journalist. As an Alpine soldier he took part in the First World War and from this experience he created a discipline in respecting the provisions of his superiors, which he would then pass on to the players in his thirty-year activity as a coach. He was in the Italian national team in three different periods but it was from 1930 to 1939 that he achieved the greatest successes that a national coach has ever achieved.
Vittorio Pozzo was the first coach to invent the retreat of the team before matches, to apply a well-defined game system to stay on the field to be rigorously respected. With him was born “the method” or the deployment to “WW” which arises in that period as a solid alternative to the “Inverted Pyramid of Cambridge” developed by the inventors of football, the English. The method involves the withdrawal of the full backs and half-backs and the movement of the central defender in support of the midfield to make him a midfielder. The arrangement is particularly suited to the continental style of play, more protected and devoted to counterattack than the English one and immediately bears fruit.
On 10 June 1934, Italy won the World Cup by beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 at the Flaminio stadium in Rome. This team had champions such as Meazza, Schiavio, Orsi, Giovanni Ferrari who will be, together with CT Pozzo, the undisputed protagonists of the world successes from there to the next few years. In 1936 the national team of CT Pozzo, made up of many young people, won the Olympics in Germany. In 1938, the national team conquered the world cup for the second time in a row, which to this day allows Vittorio Pozzo to be the only coach in the history of football. The other two successes of this fantastic decade are gold in the international cup in 1930 and 1935.
The war years
In 1940 we begin to glimpse the beginnings of the Second World War and Pozzo retired again in his native Turin and will resume attending the grenade club he coached at the beginning of his career and made up 9/11 of the same players of his national team. Turin was the dominating team of that period, it will win five consecutive championships and for this reason the definition of “Great Turin” will be born which was composed of: Bacigalupo, Ballarin, Maroso, Grezar, Rigamonti, Castigliano, Menti, Loik, Gabetto, Valentino Mazzola and Ossola.
End of career
Vittorio Pozzo will coach the national team for the last time on May 16, 1948 in the Italy-England match that ended in a humiliating 4-0 defeat. After this defeat in his native Turin, the coach resigned and thus ended his extraordinary career at the helm of the national team. From that moment he will continue to frequent the world of football as a journalist writing for La Stampa of Turin and subsequently called back by the federation to work at the Technical Center of Coverciano. He will die in his city in 1968.
A man of great culture, cosmopolitan (he spoke five languages), infected by a great passion for the game of football which gave him great moments of joy, but also dramatic moments such as recognizing the bodies of the great Turin, in the Superga tragedy , made up of the players he had loved as children in the successes of his national team.
“A hero among the heroes of our football”