's complete coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2002 World Cup


DINO ZOFF (1942- ) 
Italy, Goalkeeper
World Cup Record: 1974, 1978 (4th), 1982 (winner)
  Zoff, at 40, is the oldest player to have lifted the World Cup. AllsportUK/Allsport

Italy's legendary No. 1 made his debut for the Azzurri in 1968, yet it wasn't until 1982 that he finally triumphed on the biggest stage of all.

In doing so the 40-year-old became the oldest player to do so and also only the second goalkeeper ever to lift the World Cup, after his compatriot Gianpiero Combi.

Yet Zoff experienced the lows as well as the highs. After winning the European Championship in 1968 he was dropped ahead of the 1970 finals, missing Italy's run to the final, and in 1974 he was helpless as his side flopped in the first round. Zoff had set a goalkeeping record in the run-up to the finals by not conceding an international goal in 1,143 minutes, but that run was ended by Haiti in the opening game.

The 1978 tournament went better as Italy won its opening games over host Argentina, France and Hungary, but in the second-round game to decide who would face the Argentines in the final, Zoff was embarrassed by a 30-yard strike by Dutchman Arie Haan. To make matters worse he was again beaten from long-range by Nelinho's spectacular but speculative shot from wide on the right as Brazil won the third-place playoff.

But in 1982 it all came together. Italy was lucky to get through the first round with three draws but then came through its second phase group ahead of Argentina and Brazil. A tough 2-1 win over the defending champion was followed by the famous 3-2 win over the tournament favorite. Paolo Rossi scored the hat trick but Zoff managed to stop Cerezo's goalbound header in the dying seconds to keep Italy in the competition.

With Rossi in form, Zoff could almost enjoy the 2-0 semifinal win over Poland and the 3-1 win against West Germany in the final as a spectator. With more than a century of caps to his name, Zoff was a world champion at last.

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