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Meazza: The Italian who saw tomorrow

sports Updated: May 27, 2010 00:26 IST
Hindustan Times
Giuseppe Meazza

Twice a World Cup winner, Giuseppe Meazza could arguably be described as Italy's most successful international ever. Born in Milan in 1910, Meazza signed for Internazionale at the age of 17, and grew into one of the most complete, and feared strikers in the world. His trademark shuffle in one-on-one situations gave nightmares to opposition defenders and goalkeepers alike.

In just his second season at Inter, Meazza scored 33 goals. In 1929-30, the first season of the Serie A, he finished top scorer with 31 goals in 33 games.

He was Italy's most prolific scorer through the decade, and were it not for World War II, there is no doubt he would have gone on to score more. Meazza made his debut for the Azzuri in 1930, scoring twice against Switzerand. Against the strong Hungarian side of the 30s, he scored a hattrick.

It was at 1934 and '38 World Cups though, that Meazza grabbed the world's attention, and confirmed his status as one of the game's greatest players. Meazza scored a lot of goals as center forward, but Italian coach Vittorio Pozzo made an inspired decision, playing him slightly deeper. In the 1934 final, despite playing with an injury, Meazza provided the cross that led to Shiavio’s decisive goal in Italy's 2-1 win over Czechoslovakia. In France in 1938, Meazza captained Italy. When he died in 1979, Inter and AC Milan, in an unprecedented move, agreed to rename the famous San Siro as the Guiseppe Meazza Stadium.