Between 1933 and 1973, England remained a unbeatable opponent for the Italian national team. Despite capturing the World Cup twice and European championship once in this period, Italy didn’t manage to defeat England even once. All this changed in 1973 when Italy played England twice in international friendlies and won both times. The second one came at Wembley, with Fabio Capello’s 87th minute strike sealing the match for Italy. This was the Azzuri’s first ever victory over the Three Lions on English soil. Though Capello scored the winning goal, Italy’s hero in this match was goalkeeper Dino Zoff who made four brilliant saves to keep out English strikers. Zoff’s cleansheet against England came in middle of his still unmatched record (in international football) of 1142 minutes without conceding a single goal.
The record of most consecutive clean-sheets was just one of the few records Zoff possessed throughout his distinguished career. Easily, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, goalkeepers of all time, the Juventus legend led Italy to a World Cup title at the ripe age of 40. Zoff thus became the oldest player to lift the trophy, a record which is unlikely to be broken in future. Zoff also held appearance records in both Serie A and for Italy for long periods. For the Azzuris, Zoff collected a European Champions medal (1968), a world cup runners-up medal (1970) as well as a winners medal (1982). For Juventus, he won six Serie A titles and a UEFA Cup title. Another incredible feat of Dino Zoff was the fact that he didn’t miss a single match due to suspension or injuries in an 11 year period, playing 330 matches consecutively in Serie A. Zoff was selected as Italy’s Golden Player for past 50 years by FIGC in a UEFA Jubilee Awards Ceremony in 2003.
The legendary goalkeeper turns 70 today.