Sunday, May 03, 2009

...TODAY... 60 YEARS AGO...

Il Grande Torino

Grande Torino ("The Great Torino") is the name by which the Torino F.C. team of the 1940s is popularly known in Italy. Torino F.C. set many important records of Italian football, all of which still stand today.

Grande Torino played with the 4-4-2 10 years before the Brazil 1958 World Cup team, and some of their game tactics anticipated by 35 years the Dutch Total Football that revolutionized the game in the 1970s.

The starting lineup of Grande Torino included Valerio Bacigalupo, Aldo Ballarin, Virgilio Maroso, Pino Grezar, Mario Rigamonti, Eusebio Castigliano, Romeo Menti, Ezio Loik, Guglielmo Gabetto, Valentino Mazzola, and Franco Ossola; the son of Ossola is now the major biographer of the Club's history.

The Italy national football team starting lineup in the second half of the forties consisted almost entirely of Grande Torino players, which regularly contributed with 8-9 starters. On May 11, 1947, for the friendly match between Italy and Hungary 3-2, the Azzurri starting lineup was made of 10 Grande Torino players plus the Juventus goalkeeper Sentimenti IV. Italian manager Vittorio Pozzo reserved the Azzurri starting keeper Valerio Bacigalupo; otherwise it would have been the whole Grande Torino team playing for Italy.

Legendary captain Valentino Mazzola was also the captain of the Italy national football team as well as the father of Sandro Mazzola, who was also a great champion playing for Internazionale Milano and Italy in the 1960s-70s. Valentino was an all-around playmaker midfielder who could direct the team, pass, score, tackle, defend, inspire and lead his teammates.

The Superga tragedy

On May 4, 1949, after having secured their record fifth back-to-back Serie A title, and on their way home after a friendly match with Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal, the airplane carrying Grande Torino crashed against the Basilica of Superga, on a hill near Turin, killing nearly all the players and managers.[8]

Grande Torino is still much loved by Italian football fans as a symbol of national pride that helped Italian people get through the hardships of post World War II.

(Font wikipedia)


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