The Italian goalkeepers who played for months without conceding a goal

Dino Zoff played for Italy for 1,142 minutes without conceding but to find truly impressive clean sheet records you have to delve into the Serie C history books

By Craig McCracken for Beyond The Last Man, of the Guardian Sport Network

For much of the footballing world the infamous Italian defensive system of catenaccio was a decade-long phenomena whose tyrannical grip on the game was loosened firstly by Celtic in 1967, then broken for good by Ajax and Total Football in the early 1970s. The system that had brought so much success for Milan and Inter had run its natural course and lacked the flexibility to meet the demands of a constantly changing game.

The problem was that catenaccio’s descent into obsolescence was recognised everywhere in the world apart from in its own Italian spiritual home. Always more than a mere tactic, catenaccio was a placebo that marketed itself as a cure-all remedy for the nation’s football insecurities. Italians had long suffered a lack of confidence in their footballers’ ability to compete physically with foreigners and this inspired a counter-philosophy in which a minimum requirement of not losing was an acceptable compromise. Catenaccio had brought success and it proved to be a hard drug for Italian coaches to wean themselves off.

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Dino Zoff played for Italy for 1,142 minutes without conceding but to find truly impressive clean sheet records you have to delve into the Serie C history booksBy Craig McCracken for Beyond The Last Man, of the Guardian Sport NetworkFor much of the footballing world the infamous Italian defensive system of catenaccio was a decade-long phenomena whose tyrannical grip on the game was loosened firstly by Celtic in 1967, then broken for good by Ajax and Total Football in the early 1970s. The system that had brought so much success for Milan and Inter had run its natural course and lacked the flexibility to meet the demands of a constantly changing game.The problem was that catenaccio’s descent into obsolescence was recognised everywhere in the world apart from in its own Italian spiritual home. Always more than a mere tactic, catenaccio was a placebo that marketed itself as a cure-all remedy for the nation’s football insecurities. Italians had long suffered a lack of confidence in their footballers’ ability to compete physically with foreigners and this inspired a counter-philosophy in which a minimum requirement of not losing was an acceptable compromise. Catenaccio had brought success and it proved to be a hard drug for Italian coaches to wean themselves off. Continue reading…

https://www.theguardian.com/football/beyond-the-last-man/2017/oct/10/italian-goalkeepers-goals-dino-zoff-italy-history

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